Arthritis can affect any joint in the body and can be painful and debilitating when it affects the hands and fingers. Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) can cause joint pain, physical abnormality, and dysfunction of the hands and wrists. At FORM Hand Therapy, our hand therapists can help strengthen the joints in the wrists and fingers and improve hand dexterity. In addition to improving hand function, our hand therapists can help decrease the progression of these conditions.
The following are just a few arthritic conditions we treat. If you have a question about whether your condition should be treated by one of our hand therapists, call FORM Hand Therapy at (510) 350-3030.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand and Wrist
- Thumb Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand and Wrist
It is estimated that hands and wrists are affected in 80 to 90 percent of rheumatoid arthritis patients. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues. It affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.
- Hand and wrist joint pain and stiffness.
- Loss of range of motion of the hand and wrist.
- Reduction in hand strength and grip from muscle atrophy.
- Hand and wrist swelling.
- Hand and wrist deformity.
For individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, hand therapy is imperative to decrease potential long-term impairment. Loss of hand strength and mobility can be devastating for those with rheumatoid arthritis. Hand therapists play an important role in rheumatoid arthritis treatment by implementing rehabilitative techniques including exercise routines to help maintain range of motion and strength, activity modification, therapeutic modalities such as heat/cold or electrical stimulation, custom splinting, adaptive equipment, and appropriate duration of rest.
The thumb base is a common joint affected by arthritis. When the cartilage between the two main bones that comprise the thumb joint degenerates over time, bone on bone contact occurs with activity. Due to the lack of cushion from the cartilage, you may experience pain.
- Thumb pain.
- Thumb achiness at rest.
- Sharp pain with grasping or pinching.
- The thumb joint may even become enlarged.
If you are referred to FORM Ortho for mild thumb arthritis, our hand therapists can provide activity modification, recommend adaptive equipment and exercises to reduce pain, and custom fabricated orthosis. If symptoms persist and begin to limit hand function, your physician may recommend surgery.
Because of the variability of surgical techniques for thumb arthritis, our hand therapists will work closely with your surgeon to determine the period of post-surgical immobilization with a splint. Our hand therapists construct custom splints to ensure that your individual splint will work best for you, and will be easy to take on and off. Rehabilitative goals following surgery will focus specifically on joint healing and regaining hand function.