When your hands become swollen and hard to maneuver, there’s a good chance you’ve developed arthritis in your hands. It’s a common condition in the elderly, but even if you’re younger, you can get hand arthritis. You’re especially at risk if you’ve damaged your hands in an accident in the past, have an infection or the condition runs in your family. But you don’t have to live with hand arthritis pain when you rely on the best pain doctors at pain management in Manhattan.
Made up of a mass of multiple bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles, each hand is a finely-tuned instrument that enables you to accomplish many different tasks. While a host of conditions can lead to hand pain, some of the most common are due to hand arthritis.
Depending on what your pain doctor in NYC finds, your road to recovery may take some time, but being able to use your hands freely without pain makes the treatment worth it. The pain doctors at pain center NYC use a regenerative approach to treatment, so getting you back to your normal routines with as little pain as possible is always the goal.
Types of Hand Arthritis
Arthritis in your hands can take several different forms. Your treatment may vary, depending on which kind of arthritis your doctor determines you’re fighting. The most common types include:
- Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the hands. As you age, the cartilage in your hands and other areas of the body breaks down, causing swelling, stiffness, pain and reduced movement.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks the thin membrane, called the synovium, surrounding your joints. The loss of this membrane results in pain, swelling, loss of function and for some, eventual disability.
- Reactive arthritis results after an invasive infection of your urinary tract, gastrointestinal system or genitals. Pain and swelling are common, with occasional lumps forming on your feet or palms.
- Psoriasis, which is a skin disorder, often leads to hand arthritis. The skin disease migrates to your joints, causing inflammation and pain.
- Juvenile arthritis encompasses several types of arthritis that arise before the age of sixteen.
- Infection. Any tissue in your body can become infected. If the infection settles in a joint, it can set up as arthritis. The infection may be viral or fungal, but it usually travels through your bloodstream to your joints.
- A previous injury that damaged your cartilage is a common ailment in athletes and younger adults.
Rely on the pain doctors in Manhattan to get a conclusive diagnosis so that you receive appropriate arthritis in the hands treatment as quickly as possible. Each different cause requires a slightly different approach to ease your discomfort.
Diagnosing Hand Arthritis
Top pain management doctor NYC diagnose arthritis in the hands with a few different tools. The first is a thorough physical exam, along with careful consideration of your medical history. Your doctor may question you about any recent illnesses, accidents or injuries. Be prepared to answer a range of questions regarding your symptoms:
- What makes them worse?
- Can you find any relief and how?
- When did symptoms start?
- Do other members of your family have arthritic hand conditions?
As with many joint concerns, your doctor may request blood work or a joint fluid extraction to check for infections, RA markers, gout or any other offending bacteria. Imaging scans such as x-rays, MRIs, bone scans and CT scans may indicate stress fractures, bone spurs or inappropriate joint spaces. Your doctor may also order a video fluoroscopy, which creates a movie of the internal structures of your hand.
Arthritis of the Hand Treatment
Your doctor’s primary goal is relieving your symptoms and increasing your mobility so you can accomplish everyday tasks. To do so, he may prescribe treatment options that include:
- Medications such as over-the-counter and prescription pain and inflammation-fighting medicine, anti-rheumatoid arthritis medications, gout reducing drugs, osteoporosis medication to keep bones strong and flexible, and analgesics that specifically target pain from arthritis.
- Activity modification to reduce repetitive motions that may be aggravating your arthritis, such as modified keyboards or specialty tools and techniques for hobbies such as sewing, gardening or other handwork.
- Surgical options, such as wrist fusion or replacement, finger joint fusion, thumb or finger joint replacement. Carpal tunnel release may be necessary if your arthritis is creating a deformity or numbness and the pain isn’t relieved by other methods. Many of these minimally-invasive options are performed arthroscopically to minimize discomfort and reduce your recovery time.
At-home options that your Manhattan pain management doctor may suggest include:
- Ice or cold packs to reduce inflammation and relieve pain
- Heat, if there’s no swelling
- Customized splints and braces made of neoprene to give added support to tender joints
- Specialized instruments to help open cans, grasp items and perform everyday tasks
With the right combination of treatments, you’ll soon navigate your chores, work and hobbies with greater ease and comfort. Visit the top-rated pain clinic in New York to find out about the latest advancements in treating hand arthritis. Schedule a consultation today!
Boleslav Kosharskyy, MD, is a top-rated, best-in-class interventional pain management doctor. He is board-certified in Anesthesiology, Interventional Pain Medicine, and Palliative Care.
Dr. Kosharskyy is an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Rehabilitation Medicine at Albert Einstein Medical College. He’s also the Associate Medical Director of Pain Medicine and Director of Anesthesia for the Joint Replacement Center at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein Medical College.
He is an active member of the American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA), the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA), and the New York State Society of Anesthesiologists (NYSSA)