OSTEOARTHRITIS is the most common form of arthritis in the UK and causes the joints to become painful and stiff. Some symptoms are unusual, especially as they can develop on the hands.
Osteoarthritis affects nearly nine million people nationwide. It is caused when the protective cartilage around the joints breaks down, causing swelling, pain and problems with joint movement. Furthermore, bony growths can develop and the area around the joint can become red and swollen. The cause of this form of arthritis is unknown.
What is known is a number of factors can increase a person’s risk of developing the condition such as joint injury, older age, a family history of arthritis, and obesity.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis include joint tenderness, increased pain and stiffness when the joint has not been moved for a while, and joints appearing slightly larger than usual.
A grating or cracking sensation or sound in the joints, weakness, and muscle wasting are also symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Signs of arthritis can also appear on the hand.
Osteoarthritis of the hand, normally affects “the base of your thumb, the joints closest to your fingertips, [and] the middle joints of your fingers”.
Furthermore, a person may develop cysts that appear on the backs of the fingers while the fingers themselves can become stiff, painful, and swollen.
As well as cysts, bumps can develop too.
These can be present on finger joints or at the base of the thumb
There are a number of treatments for osteoarthritis including lifestyle measures, medication, and physiotherapy
Physiotherapists recommend exercises as one of the key treatments for patients with osteoarthritis as it builds muscle and helps the joints to strengthen.
Furthermore, exercise can help a person to lose weight and therefore take weight off the joints so there’s less pressure exacted upon them.
A physio may prescribe a tailored exercise regime that will best help treat their patient’s arthritis.