Hand & Thumb Arthritis Treatment

Arthritis of the hands can compromise one’s 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 one’s bones that is essential for smooth and easy joint movement.

Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, refers to a chronic disease that causes one’s 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 one 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 one’s discomfort is typically heightened by use of the joint. The frequency and intensity of one’s pain will increase as the shock-absorbing cartilage wears away.

Other common symptoms that may cause one 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 one can begin hand or thumb arthritis treatment, the better, as such steps can minimize the progression of the disease and maintain one’s 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 one’s 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 one 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 one’s 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 one’s treatment for arthritis in the fingers or thumb because it can allow the muscles of one’s wrist, hand and digits to lose strength and flexibility.

Similarly, one 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 Bort’s SellaDur 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, one 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 allow 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 one’s 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 one’s knuckles, slowing the progressive drift of one’s 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, one 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, one sacrifices joint movement for pain relief.

After surgery, one may need to wear an immobilizing hand splint or cast for a period so that healing can take place. Eventually, one will likely need to undergo occupational or physical therapy to restore function to the hand.