Arthritis in fingers occurs where the bones of your fingers meet at your joints. The problem is that it damages your joints on their surfaces, which are normally smooth to allow fluid motion to take place. The surface is made of cartilage which when damaged in any way can prevent the normal motion of the joint and create stiffness, deformities, swelling and pain within that joint.
Two varieties of arthritis in fingers exist, including rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid is known as a systemic type of disease that causes the soft tissues around your finger joints to swell or inflame, most often affecting the finger joints at the knuckles, known as the MCP joints. Osteoarthritis causes abnormal wear and tear on your joints, wearing away your cartilage and causing the bones that meet at the joints to be exposed. Quite often the finger joints affected include the fingertip and mid-finger joints, as well as the thumb base joint.
Finger arthritis has some symptoms that you may or may not be aware of. These include mobility loss, stiffness, swelling and joint pain. If you get the osteoarthritis variety you may develop nodules or lumps around your finger knuckles, known as Heberden’s nodes, Bouchard’s nodes and bone spurs. The Heberden variety are furthest from the knuckle and the Bouchard type are closer to the knuckle. Bone spurs literally grow around your joints. Quite often the knuckles become so stiff, swollen and painful that people who wear rings complain that they either cannot be removed or don’t fit.
So, how is finger arthritis treated? Like many types of arthritis, arthritis in fingers can be treated using two major types of treatments, though surgery is a third option that is rarely recommended. These include anti-inflammatory medicines and joint supplements. The anti-inflammatory medicines treat your pain, helping to decrease any inflammation and/or swelling around your finger joints. The joint supplements contain chondroitin and glucosamine which are the main ingredients the body uses to build normal cartilage around your joints. These are quite often used for treating many types of osteoarthritis. However, at present there is no known way of curing or preventing finger arthritis, just treating the symptoms.
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