Arthritis in Hands
There are many small joints present in hand and wrist, which function together to produce motion. These joints are essential to perform most of our day-to-day activities like threading a needle or tying a shoelace. It would be very difficult to perform our daily activities if these joints are affected by arthritis. Arthritis can affect various parts of the hand and wrist. There are multiple causes, which develop arthritis in hand. Recent research reveals that one out of every five individuals live in the United States has not less than a joint with the signs or symptoms of arthritis. Nearly 50 percent of the arthritis sufferers are under age of 50 years. It is the major cause of impairment in the United States. It characteristically occurs either from disease or from trauma.
The cartilage acts as natural shock absorber, which renders a smooth gliding layer for the joint. All the arthritic joints drop off cartilage. If the cartilage turns damaged or worn, or is destroyed because of disease or trauma, the joint becomes severely painful and find it very difficult in performing mobility. The body ties to compensate for the disoriented cartilage. It produces synovial fluid in the synovium (joint lining), which strives to behave as a cushion; however, it also induces the joints to swell. This activity limits motion. The swelling stimulates stretching of the capsule (joint covering), which induces pain in the joints. Over a period of time, when the arthritis is not cared for, the bones present in the joint may lose their regular shape. This forces more pain in the joints and it further restricts motion.
Arthritis of the hand can be diagnosed by a physician by testing the hand and by taking X-ray. Specialized studies with the help of recent equipments like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are normally not required. Occasionally, a scan in the affected area would be very helpful. The bone scan would support the physician to diagnose arthritis even at an early stage; however, the X-rays would not show the early arthritis. There is another procedure called arthroscopy, by which a physician can view the joint by direct examination. During this procedure, the physician puts in a tiny camera into the joint to observe inside. It allows the most clear-cut picture of the joint without making a huge incision. However, this is an encroaching operation and must not be utilized as an ordinary diagnostic tool.
Arthritis of the hand and wrist can be treated through injections, medication, splinting, and surgery. However, the efficiency of the treatment is based on how far the disease is progressed; how many joints have been affected; the activity level, age, and other medical considerations of the patient; whether the affected hand is a dominant or a non-dominant one.