Arthritis affects all joints in the body and is not specific to the knees. The condition is induced by inflammation of the lubricating tissue of the joints called synovium. The joints become unstable when the tissues expand in turn stretching the tendons and ligaments. In the hand it generally occurs around the knuckles and wrist. Knuckles may swell and turn red. When the condition occurs in one wrist it extends to the other wrist too.
Symptoms of arthritis
The common signs of arthritis include general muscle stiffness, pain and swelling. Other symptoms are:
• A lump soft in nature that moves with hand movement.
• Collapse or angulation of fingers.
• Appearance of nodules on the elbow or the fingers.
• Middle finger deformity in the joint that gives the appearance of being bent which is the result of a ruptured tendon.
• Swan neck deformity characterized by the abnormality in the structure of the finger when the middle joint extends over and the finger tips are bent.
• The wrist bones become prominent.
• Tingling or numbness experienced uniformly throughout the hand.
• Snapping of joints or swelling induced joint lock.
Diagnosis of hand arthritis
Dr. Asaf Yalif, a experienced hand surgeon in Atlanta, will start the diagnosis by first performing an x-ray and running lab tests. The doctor will then inquire about your symptoms and any hereditary links. Arthritis is generally passed down through generations. It is important to know if anyone from the family has had a history with arthritis. Following which a thorough examination of the affected area is done. The affected area is better evaluated on close physical examination.
On examination the typical symptoms that are revealed are:
• Narrowing of spaces between the joints.
• Joint erosion.
• Reduction in density of bones.
• Swelling in the structures that are not bones.
Arthritis care requires the combined treatment from a hand surgeon, a rheumatologist and a hand therapist. A rheumatologist decides the medication prescribed while the hand surgeon may suggest preventive surgery. Hand surgery can only retard the progression of the disease there is no cure for hand arthritis although medications may help manage the pain. Regular exercise and physiotherapy of the affected are gives relief. Dr. Yalif may suggest surgery like:
• Extracting the bones that rub against ligaments and tendons.
• Nodules removal.
• Cutting out the inflamed affected tissues to reduce the pressure exerted on joints.
• Replacement of joints.
• Fusion of joints.
Joint care measures
There are simple preventive measures that prolong the onset of symptoms. Obesity plays a crucial role in the amount of pressure exerted on the joint. It is therefore important to maintain the right weight by regular exercise and healthy eating practices. Those suffering from gout must refrain from eating food rich in purines like organ meats, mushrooms, sardines, asparagus and dried beans. Purines are broken down into uric acid which leads to deposition of uric acid crystal in the joints. Inculcating these changes reduce the flare up in the joint although the condition may not be cured completely.
For more information about the plastic surgery procedures and treatments performed by Cosmetic Surgeon Dr. Asaf Yalif please call us at 404.822.4402 or click here to schedule a consultation. Offices located in Atlanta, Roswell, and Woodstock, Georgia.