Treating Arthritic Joint Pain in the Hands

Arthritic joint pain in the hands can be debilitating, but it doesn’t have to be. A wide range of treatments are available that can reduce your pain and improve your mobility.

Treating Arthritic Joint Pain

Medications to Treat Arthritic Joint Pain

While medication can’t reverse your joint damage, it can help decrease your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen can ease inflammation and discomfort by stopping the body from producing the chemicals that cause these symptoms.

Orthopedic surgeons often recommend other medications for persistent arthritic symptoms. Acetaminophen or a prescribed pain reliever may be quite effective at targeting pain.

Corticosteroids also can help treat hand arthritis by suppressing inflammation. You can take corticosteroids by mouth, or they may be injected directly into the affected joint.

Modifying Activities to Treat Arthritic Hand Pain

Though your pain likely makes you want to move your hand as little as possible, gentle range-of-motion exercises can help maintain flexibility.

Your orthopedic surgeon can teach you some simple hand exercises that will strengthen your muscles to better protect your joints. Doing these on a daily basis can lead to a reduction in arthritis pain.

Resting the affected joint is also beneficial, so you may need to cut back on activities that aggravate your hand arthritis. Your orthopedic surgeon may recommend immobilizing your finger or hand for short periods, or you may need to wear a splint at night or during certain activities.

Surgery for Arthritic Joint Pain in the Hand

If non-surgical treatments are not effective at managing your arthritis pain, or if your mobility becomes too limited, orthopedic surgery is likely to be the next step.

Joint reconstruction or repair is an arthroscopic procedure involving only small incisions. With this surgery, the joint surfaces are smoothed and realigned to decrease pain and improve function. If necessary, as a part of reconstruction, one of the arthritic bones may be removed and replaced with a section of tendon from your forearm.

Joint fusion is a procedure in which the damaged joint surfaces are removed, and the bone ends fused together to make one solid bone. Fusion can eliminate pain, but the tradeoff is that the affected joint will no longer move at all.

In some cases, a joint replacement may be the preferable option. This orthopedic surgery removes the damaged joint and replaces it with an artificial one.

Contact IASIS Centers of Orthopedic & Sports Medicine today to schedule a consultation with one of our hand and upper extremity specialists. Or experienced orthopedic surgeons will carefully evaluate your case and recommend the best course of treatment for your arthritic joint pain.

R. Brian Mackey, MD on sablinkedin
R. Brian Mackey, MD
Dr. Brian Mackey is an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician with an extensive orthopedic background and a special emphasis in hand procedures.