Hand and Microsurgery Associates
Arthritis Q & A
What is arthritis?
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common types of arthritis to affect the hands. Osteoarthritis develops as the cartilage that coats and protects your joints wears away. Without the cartilage to cushion them, your bones rub together, creating friction every time you move, causing irritation, inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks your synovial lining. Your synovial lining is a membrane that covers your joints and creates a lubricating fluid to coat your joints for smooth, pain-free movement. Rheumatoid arthritis often begins in your smallest joints and affects both sides of your body. Rheumatoid arthritis also often leads to cartilage damage and increases your risk of osteoarthritis.
When should I talk to a doctor about arthritis?
Arthritis can also make your joints red or feel warm to the touch. You can also develop cysts on the joints of your fingers, which further impair your mobility.
If you have chronic joint pain, stiffness, and swelling in your joints that interferes with your life, it’s time to talk to an orthopedic specialist. When left untreated, arthritis can lead to bone erosion and joint deformity.
How is arthritis diagnosed?
They also use imaging studies like MRIs and X-rays to collect more data about your joints. The team often orders bloodwork to confirm rheumatoid arthritis or other diseases that can contribute to joint pain.
How is arthritis treated?
In severe cases, they offer surgery to repair and restore your joints. For example, your surgeon might recommend a joint fusion procedure to reduce your pain and restore your function.
Call Hand and Microsurgery Associates if you have chronic joint pain that’s interfering with your life.