Arthritis of the hands can compromise your ability to do many everyday activities, for which fine motions are necessary. While there are more than 100 different forms of arthritis, there are two main types—osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
What is Arthritis of the Hand?
Simply put, arthritis refers to inflammation of one or several joints.
Inflammation in the form of osteoarthritis is caused simply by the wear and tear of aging that wears away the cartilage covering the ends of your bones that is essential for smooth and easy joint movement.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, refers to a chronic disease that causes your joint lining to swell. This condition typically begins in the smallest joints of the hands and feet and it affects these joints on both sides of the body.
Of note, trauma to a joint makes you more likely to develop arthritis down the road. Specifically, fractures or dislocations are the injuries most commonly associated with arthritis.
A dull or burning pain is one of the initial symptoms of arthritis, and your discomfort is typically heightened by use of the joint. The frequency and intensity of your pain will increase as the shock-absorbing cartilage wears away.
Other common symptoms that may cause you to seek arthritis treatment for the hands include swelling, joint warmth, a grinding sensation, the formation of cysts, joint deformity and/or an increase in the mobility of neighboring joints.
There are both surgical and non-surgical modes of hand arthritis treatment that can slow the progression of the disease or remedy it.
Non-surgical Arthritis in Hands Treatment
The earlier you can begin hand or thumb arthritis treatment, the better, as such steps can minimize the progression of the disease and maintain your hand mobility.
Ice therapy is one popular natural treatment for arthritis in the hands as this can reduce painful inflammation that causes joint stiffness.
Activity modification that reduces stress on your fingers, hand or thumb is another common component of arthritis hand treatment. This might include the use of arthritis hand aids that make it easier for you to open a jar, fasten a seatbelt, open a door, or button a shirt, for instance.
Along these same lines, wearing thumb or finger splints for arthritis can also help. Wearing a finger/thumb arthritis brace can reduce stress on your joint. Doing so also acts as a reminder to rest the joint when it is painfully swollen.
Note that splinting should not be an around-the-clock arthritis hands treatment. It should be used during periods when the joints ache.
Wearing a thumb splint for arthritis non-stop can actually be detrimental to your treatment for arthritis in the fingers or thumb because it can allow the muscles in your wrist, hand and digits to lose strength and flexibility.
Similarly, you should pick hand braces for arthritis that are small enough to allow functional use of the hand during use.
Thumb and Finger Splints for Arthritis
One of our top-selling thumb braces for arthritis is this hard thumb arthritis splint. The rigid thermoplastic material of which the arthritis thumb splint is composed is highly perforated and lightweight. It also comes with an undersock for a more comfortable arthritis thumb treatment experience.
For a bit more support, you might consider BraceAbility’s thumb joint spica wrist splint. This highly affordable hand brace for arthritis covers more of the wrist so that it also functions as an arthritis wrist brace. This thumb brace for arthritis leaves the other fingers free and has strategically placed contouring that allows full function of the rest of the hand. The wrist brace for arthritis also comes with a removable splint for extra support.
This ulnar drift hand support for arthritis is another great tool for dealing with this possible side effect arthritis—usually rheumatoid arthritis. The displacement of your fingers toward the pinky can be quite debilitating, not to mention painful. Wearing this arthritis finger splint can help with treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in the hands in that it encourages proper alignment of your knuckles, slowing the progressive drift of your fingers.
Surgical Arthritis Treatment for the Hands
In some cases, when arthritis finger splints, ice and other at-home methods of arthritis treatment fail to bring relief, you may need to undergo surgery. If possible, surgical treatment for thumb arthritis will preserve or reconstruct the joint. But in some cases, joint replacement may be necessary.
Joint fusion is another possibility for arthritis hand treatment. In such cases, you sacrifice joint movement for pain relief.
After surgery, you may need to wear an immobilizing hand splint or cast for a period so that healing can take place. Eventually, you will likely need to undergo occupational or physical therapy to restore function to the hand.