Osteoarthritis of Hand

Osteoarthritis of Hand


About 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.

Osteoarthritis 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.

Joint issues: Joint infections, overuse, loose ligaments, and poorly aligned joints can also lead to hand or wrist arthritis.

Treatments for Hand OA

The 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 joints.

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.






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