half of all women and one-quarter of all men will experience the stiffness and
pain of Osteoarthritis( OA)of the hands
by the time they are 85 years old. A degenerative disease that affects all the
tissues of a joint, OA leads to the breakdown over time of the smooth,
protective cartilage on the ends of bones, so bones rub together, causing pain.
The 29 bones of your hands and wrists come together to form many small joints
that can be affected by OA.
usually occurs later in life, with no specific cause. But several factors can
play a role, including:
Age: the older you are, the more
likely you are to have hand OA.
Sex: women are more likely to be
affected than men.
Genes: some people inherit the
tendency to develop osteoarthritis, usually at a younger age.
Injuries: Even when properly treated,
an injured joint is more likely to develop OA over time. Fractures and
dislocations are among the most common injuries that lead to arthritis.
infections, overuse, loose ligaments, and poorly aligned joints can also lead
to hand or wrist arthritis.
for Hand OA
primary goal of hand therapy for OA is to reduce pain, improve hand function,
and enhance the quality of life. The treatments focus on reducing inflammation,
increasing joint mobility, and strengthening the hand muscles. Here are some
common hand therapy treatments for Hand OA
1. Joint Protection Techniques: Hand
therapists educate patients on how to protect their affected joints during
daily activities to prevent further damage and reduce pain. This may involve
using assistive devices or modifying hand movements to minimize stress on the
2. Thermal Modalities: Applying heat or cold
to the affected hand can help reduce pain and inflammation. Heat therapy (warm
compresses or paraffin wax baths) can help relax muscles and improve blood circulation.
Cold therapy (ice packs) can help numb the area and reduce swelling.
3. Arthritic Gloves: Arthritic gloves, also
known as compression gloves or arthritis gloves, are specialized garments
designed to provide relief and support for individuals suffering from arthritis
or joint pain in the hands. These gloves are made of stretchy and breathable
fabric, often containing a blend of materials such as cotton, spandex, and
elastane. The primary purpose of arthritis gloves is to apply gentle compression
to the hands, which can help alleviate swelling, reduce pain, and enhance hand
function for those with arthritis or other hand-related conditions.
4. Hand Exercises: Specific exercises are
prescribed to improve joint mobility, strength, and dexterity. Range of motion
exercises help maintain flexibility while strengthening exercises target the
muscles around the hand and wrist for better support.
5. Splinting: Hand therapists may provide
custom-made or off-the-shelf splints to support and immobilize the affected
joints during periods of rest or high-pain activity. Splints help reduce joint
strain and pain.