Can Hand Therapy Help Alleviate Arthritis Pain?

Central Victorian Hand Therapy have extensive experience helping patients suffering from Arthritis

Can Hand Therapy Help Alleviate Arthritis Pain?

Arthritis is a general term used to refer to any disorder that affects the joints. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, among them, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are the most prevalent. In fact, in Australia, around 15% of the population suffer from at least one type of arthritis.

Common symptoms of arthritis include swelling, pain, stiffness and limited range of motion. Symptoms may not be persistent, and can range from mild to severe. Arthritis may stay the same for some years, but it is not uncommon for it to get worse over time. Arthritis can be debilitating as it can severely affect the mobility of the patient. Patients with arthritis may have difficulty to remain active physically, increasing their risk of developing other chronic diseases such as obesity or heart disease.

What Are Common Symptoms of Arthritis Of The Hands?

Common symptoms of arthritis of the hands include swelling, pain, stiffness, weakness / loss of strength, bone spurs, ‘knobbly’ or ‘crooked’ knuckles & finger joints and limited range of motion.

Types Of Arthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis means arthritis of the bones in Greek. As one of the most common types of arthritis, osteoarthritis results from the degeneration of joint cartilage and bones. It is considered a wear and tear condition causing the thinning and destruction of the smooth cartilage which cushions and protects the ends of a bone at the joint. Over time, pain can develop from damage to the joint itself, from weakness that occurs, or an imbalance of muscles that are working to try and support the joint.

Common symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Swelling and pain of the affected joints
  • Decreased range of motion in the affected joints
  • Pain
  • Weakness

Osteoarthritis usually affects the joints near the fingertips and at the base of the thumbs.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. It occurs when the body’s immune system mistakes the body’s healthy tissues for foreign invaders, attacking the joints. RA usually affects both hands including knuckle joints, middle finger joints and wrists.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Swelling and pain of the affected joints
  • Warm sensation around the affected joints
  • Affected joints can appear red
  • Stiffness
  • Joint deformity
  • Loss of function and dexterity.

Rheumatoid arthritis commonly affects both hands including knuckle joints, middle finger joints and wrists.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis mainly affects people with the autoimmune disease psoriasis. Patients with psoriatic arthritis have:

  • Swollen fingers that look like sausages
  • Indentations in the nails
  • Thickening of the nails
  • In severe cases, the nails may detach from the nail beds
  • Psoriatic arthritis commonly affects the wrists and hands

I Have Arthritis of the Hands- How Can A Hand Therapist Help Me?

Hand therapists are occupational or physical therapists that have undergone further training to specialise in treating conditions affect the hands.

Hand therapists can assess and treat patients with problems in their upper extremities. They often work with doctors and surgeons to provide rehabilitative care to the patients. Hand therapist extensive knowledge in the upper limbs allow them to help patients restore functions, prevent further damage, reduce recovery time, eventually ensuring faster return to work and rewarding lifestyle.

If you are affected by arthritis, our caring and professional hand therapists can provide the following care:

  • Assessing your condition. By assessing your condition, our hand specialists can design the best treatment for you in order to provide you a comprehensive care and support.
  • Splinting. Splints additional support and ensure proper healing. Our hand therapists may fabricate custom made splint or orthosis for your finger, hand or wrist. Sometimes, we may use commercially available splints or customise them to suit your needs. Our hand therapists will take into account your daily activities in order to provide the best option for you.
  • Rehabilitation programs. Hand conditions always affect the functionality of hands. In severe cases, they can hinder daily activities even work. Our hand therapists can help you in that department by improving the functionality of your fingers and hands, increasing their strength and range of movement.

Learn more about how Hand Therapy can help to alleviate symptoms of arthritis.

If you would like to speak with one of our Hand Therapists, you can contact us directly via phone, email, or contact us via our online booking system.

If you have been diagnosed with any of the conditions above or have injured your wrist or are experiencing wrist pain, don’t hesitate to contact Central Victorian Hand Therapy (Central Victorian Hand Therapy) to make an appointment for a consultation to assess and develop a treatment plan manage your condition, reduce pain an to aid in your recovery.

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