Finger Joint Pain and Arthritis
November 20, 2008 by admin
Metacarpophalangeal (MP or MPC) joints are those large joints in the hand at the base of each finger. They serve as complex hinge point and are essential for both gripping and pinching activities. Finger joint pain can have an impact on the simplest of daily tasks, such as holding a cup or even using utensils.
Smaller joints in the hand and those where the thumb is connected to the wrist are the ones most affected by finger joint pain. MP joints are less commonly affected by conditions relating to arthritis. The hand and CMC joint (where the thumb connects to the wrist) are typically more susceptible. Nevertheless, rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of arthritis that affects the MP joints. In this situation, the joint lining called synovium generates chemical factors that damage and inflame the cartilage and tissues like the ligaments and tendons. The result of this is that joint surfaces are damaged and fingers come to an ulnar-deviated position. This is a position that points each finger in the direction of the little finger.
Other conditions of finger joint pain can produce throbbing, distortion, and movement loss. Post-traumatic arthritis arises when previous injuries result in the slow loss of joint cartilage, resulting in pain and stiffness. These findings are similar with those inherit in osteoarthritis. Post-traumatic arthritis and OA most generally affect the middle finger, index, and thumb. The rate of deformity and distortion is less severe in these conditions when compared to rheumatoid arthritis. Psoriasis, infection and gout are other conditions that trigger MP joint arthritis.
People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis experience prolonged pain, inflammation, and deformity in a number of joints in both lower and upper extremities. RA patients’ fingers usually show signs of ulnar drift that is accompanied by motion loss and straightening of fingers.
In post-traumatic arthritis and osteoarthritis, patients complain of severe joint pain, which worsens with gripping and pinching activities. No finger deformities will be obvious for these patients, but swelling in between the large knuckles may often occur.
Diagnosing MP arthritis is done only through x-rays. Milder cases are best diagnosed with the help of special x-rays that examine the metacarpal head.
A lot of treatment options are available for patients suffering from finger joint pain. Deciding on what treatments is best is usually determined by the level of discomfort and severity of joint damage.
In the situation of rheumatoid arthritis, a variety of medications can be effectively utilized to battle any inflammation. Patients of rheumatoid arthritis are well advised to consult health practitioners that specialize in these kinds of disorders. When prescribed medications are not able to reduce symptoms or even slow the destruction of cartilage, cortisone injections can be used to provide temporary relief and improvement.
In post-traumatic arthritis, activity modification, anti-inflammatory drugs, and splints can alleviate the joint pain and provide relief from symptoms.
For patients who experience prolonged and progressive pain, motion loss, and deformity, they may have to go through surgical treatment to relieve these disorders.
Patients who have not suffered form significant joint damage can benefit from the synovectomy surgery, in which the inflamed joint lining is removed in order to slow the progressive destruction of joints. Tendons and cartilage can also be realigned to improve function. Patients with severely damaged joints can have them replaced or fused to relieve themselves from further finger joint pain. Your hand surgeon can provide guidance for these severe conditions.