Arthritis is an inflammatory process localized in various joints of human body. Arthritis in hands and fingers is a very frequent disease. According to the latest data, this disease affects every seventh inhabitant of our planet. In most cases arthritis patients are women. They suffer from finger arthritis almost five times more often than men. Doctors attribute this to the fact that women are more engaged in manual labor than men. Most often arthritis affects metacarpophalangeal and interphalangeal joints.
Finger arthritis takes its course with inflammatory changes and is often secondary. It means that arthritis in finger joints is the consequence of another existing disease. For example, people with rheumatic, infectious issues or metabolic disorders usually develop arthritis. Arthritis in hands and fingers is socially significant, because it often leads to the fact that a person loses the ability to work and to fulfill household chores. Sometimes people with arthritis become disabled.
The term “arthritis” includes a number of different joint diseases. All of them primarily affect joints of legs and arms, and ultimately lead to a full or partial limitation of joint mobility. However, at the beginning of the disease inflammation affects small joints, particularly finger joints. Typical symptoms of arthritis in fingers are unbearable pain in fingers and persistent increase of local temperature in the affected area.
As with any other disease, to achieve good results and to cure arthritis completely you should start dealing with it as soon as possible. Visit a doctor and he or she will prescribe you the best treatment for arthritis in fingers. It should be carried out quickly, efficiently and timely. Even if you have mild pain in your pinky or index finger, it is better to consult a doctor. Correct treatment plan always affects the initial cause of arthritis in hands and fingers and successfully cures the disease.
Causes of Arthritis in Fingers
Arthritis in fingers can be triggered by various causes. The main reasons are the following:
- Infectious diseases. Often people develop arthritis after having a sore throat, which was caused by strep or staph. Very often such complications occur due to improper treatment of the infectious disease;
- Operations, trauma, injuries. Even if you think that you have cured a certain injury, it can remind of itself with arthritis;
- Diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatism, infections, sexually transmitted diseases, lupus, diabetes, gout, and tuberculosis can cause arthritis;
- Working conditions affect the state of your joints. Arthritis in fingers is considered to be a professional disease of seamstresses, jewelers, tennis players and all other people whose work keeps their hands in constant tension;
- Hereditary predisposition. Scientists have found that if blood relatives suffered from arthritis, then their descendants are likely to be affected by this disease.
There are some additional risk factors that can provoke development of arthritis in finger joints:
- Obesity. Excessive weight gives more load on your joints. Due to this they wear out quicker;
- Age. When you become older, your cartilaginous tissue wears out leading to osteoarthritis;
- Smoking and drinking too much alcohol. These habits badly influence your overall state;
- Severe hypothermia;
- Weak immunity. Immunosuppression can cause inflammation of small joints;
- Allergic reactions;
- Stress also influences the occurrence of the disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis in Fingers
At present doctors distinguish two main forms of arthritis: acute and chronic. The first develops quickly and is always accompanied by fever, swelling and severe pain in your joints. Chronic arthritis usually develops over a long period of time. Early signs of this form are not so evident. As a rule, they include moderate fever and stiffness in your joints during movement. Arthritis treatment largely depends on its nature, course of the disease and its initial reason. Finger arthritis manifests itself differently in any particular case, but it is still possible to identify some common symptoms.
Typical symptoms for arthritis of any location are:
- Pain in the joints of several or one finger, occurring during their movement and reinforcing after a long rest;
- Fever occurs mainly in the acute form of the disease;
- Stiffness in your joints that develops within a year or two after the onset of arthritis is typical for a chronic form;
- Swollen fingers and redness of the skin above the affected joints.
There is another classification based on the causes of arthritis. According to this classification there are the following types of arthritis:
- Infectious or septic arthritis;
- Purulent arthritis;
- Rheumatoid arthritis in fingers;
- Gouty arthritis;
- Osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis.
By the way, scientists differentiate more than 150 types of arthritis nowadays. Some of them, for example, affect only trigger or middle fingers.
One of the most important aspects of treating arthritis in fingers is its diagnostics. In general, it includes the following procedures:
- Questioning the patient. Your doctor must know all your complaints and understand the anamnesis of your life and disease;
- Careful inspection of your fingers including the little finger for detection of characteristic symptoms of the disease, such as deformities of your joints, knots or cysts under your skin;
- Standard tests (blood and urine tests);
- The most informative method is radiography, as it allows your doctor to define the stage of the disease and the degree of its severity. It can happen that bumps and nodules can be visible only in the X-ray picture;
- Additional examination of your internal organs. Any abnormalities in functioning of your organs can help to define the cause of arthritis in your case.
Do not forget that arthritis can develop in a person of any age group, so you need to be on the lookout and always seek for qualified medical advice.
Treatment for Arthritis in Fingers
How to treat arthritis in fingers? Even the most qualified rheumatologist cannot answer this question, if he or she does not have the results of the above-mentioned comprehensive diagnostics. After all, in order to stop the disease it is necessary to know the cause of its occurrence. Only having identified the source of the problem, your doctor can determine the correct treatment strategy.
You should understand that it is possible to cope with arthritis only if you start treating it at the early stage of its development. In neglected cases medicines as well as natural remedies are rarely effective.
If you have infectious arthritis, doctors often prescribe a course of antibiotics in combination with corticosteroids. This therapy is aimed at eliminating the focus of the disease. Very often doctors add analgesics and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve arthritis pain.
In order to restore the affected cartilage areas and inhibit degenerative processes in cartilaginous tissue specialist use chondroprotectors. If this remedy does not help, doctors prescribe antirheumatic drugs and immune response modifiers.
In most cases arthritis is accompanied by general irritability and sleep disorders, which is why doctors recommend patients to take sedatives and sleeping drugs. Some specialist offer using well-known home remedies for this purpose, such as valerian or motherwort tincture. Correct use of special ointments, creams and tinctures that have anti-inflammatory action is also possible.
For general strengthening of your body and immunity you can take multivitamins or just vitamin B1 (thiamine), do moderate physical exercises, stick to a special healthy diet and avoid stress.
Treatment of finger arthritis has to be complex. Therefore, in addition to medication it is recommended to do the following physiotherapy procedures:
- Magnetic therapy.
If you have gout arthritis, it is very important to stick to a certain diet that is aimed at preventing uric acid from excessive deposition in your joints. A good idea is to visit a dietitian to make a special daily diet for you. Well thought diet can provide you tangible pain relief.
Home methods of treatment also have the right to exist. However, their effectiveness has not been proven and doctors are wary of their use. Most often home remedies include herbal decoctions and infusions, compresses and ointments with mustard and blue clay, as well as turpentine baths.
If all of the possible non-invasive methods are resultless, there is only one solution left, which is surgery or joint prosthetics.