Arthritis Of The Hands
At Central Victorian Hand Therapy we understand how arthritis of hands can be debilitating, causing chronic pain and affecting your ability to perform everyday activities such as gripping a door handle, holding a cup, tying shoelaces and holding a pen.
Arthritis broadly refers to a group of conditions affecting joints causing pain, swelling and stiffness, including:
- osteoarthritis - 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;
- rheumatoid arthritis (RA) - an autoimmune disease whereby a person's immune system mistakes the body's healthy tissues for foreign invaders, affecting both hands including knuckle joints, middle finger joints and wrists;
- psoriatic arthritis - a form of arthritis that affects some sufferers of psoriasis; and
Common Workplace Injuries Affecting Upper Limb
Symptoms of the various forms of arthritis which affect fingers, hands, wrists & elbows include:
- Weakness or loss of grip strength, resulting in the inablility to grasp or pinch objects
- Joint pain (in fingers, hands, wrists and elbow)
- Joint stiffness resulting in loss of movement and dexterity
- Bone spurs and change in joint shape resulting in ‘knobbly’ joints and fingers appearing ‘crooked’ (caused by the uneven wear of cartilage
How Can Hand Therapy Provide Relief From Arthritis?
Whilst at present it isn’t possible to completely cure some forms of arthritis, the caring Practitioners of Hand Therapy at Central Victorian Hand Therapy understand that with early intervention and management can help to reduce the progression of the disease, and reduce pain and improve your ability to use your hands.
Once your hand therapist thoroughly assesses the arthritis in your upper limb and discusses the goals you wish to achieve with your hand function in day to day living or work, we will develop a treatment and arthritis management program which is designed to reduce your arthritis pain, restore a measure of movement and dexterity and advise and educate you better manage your hand arthritis through ergonomic modifications and exercises. Hand therapy can help to strengthen, re-balance muscle power in the thumb, and teach you self management strategies to protect the joint from ongoing damage.
Your arthritis treatment plan may include:
- Massage and heat application to release tension
- Splinting (orthoses) to support and restore proper positioning, and resulting in decreased joint stiffness and pain
- Recommendation of specific strengthening exercises to restore hand function and reduce further damage to the joints affected by arthritis
- Development of an arthritis management program which will include advice and strategies on improving ergonomics and protecting affected joints
I Have Arthritis In My Hands - What Should I Do?
Arthritis is one of the leading causes of chronic pain and disabilities in Australia. Our caring hand therapists have extensive experience in treating, managing and advising you on how to reduce your hand arthritis pain, improve movement and prevent further damage to your joints.
Please note, patients who want to refer themselves are welcome to do so. You only need a referral if you are funded under Workcover, TAC, The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), or you are on a Management Plan such as the Enhanced Primary Care Plan from your doctor.