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Hand Osteoarthritis Hand Therapy

“Working with a knowledgeable hand therapist can make the difference between success and failure in complex hand surgical cases. The therapist extends the continuum of our care, as well as functioning as coach and trainer for our patients.”

Marybeth Ezaki, MD, Past President, American Society for Surgery of the Hand

In Phoenix Rehab, our senior hand therapists are experienced licensed and dedicated therapists (physiotherapists and/or occupational therapists) who specialized ONLY in the rehabilitation, treatment and management of painful fingers, hands, wrists, forearm & elbow conditions, because of interest, passion and expertise.

We have many joints in our human hands.

These joints in the hand are formed where two or more bones meet. In between the joints, we have a cushion called cartilage. Arthritis occurs when the cartilage between bones becomes thin or worn out.

Unfortunately this allows the bones to touch and not move smoothly against one another, and when they meet, they may grind against each other and this is an unpleasant experience.

Arthritis in the hand may lead to

first of all, What causes osteoarthritis in the hand?

Osteoarthritis is caused by overuse, an injury to a joint or “wear and tear” on a joint. This may be present in all joints of the hand or only a few. Other factors that may contribute to osteoarthritis in the hand are

  • age
  • gender and
  • family history

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis in the hand?

Stiffness, pain and weakness are some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis in the hand.

Joints in the hand may also

  • have a deep ache
  • be tender or warm to the touch
  • develop swelling or
  • have a change in appearance, such as a bump (usually termed as nodes)

Osteoarthritis in the hand may make it difficult to perform activities, such as

  • gripping
  • pinching
  • writing
  • holding fine or small objects

Bumps on the fingers that may develop due to osteoarthritis

What is the treatment for osteoarthritis in the hand?

Osteoarthritis in the hand will be diagnosed by a doctor.

Often an X-ray is taken to determine if there are changes to the joint surfaces. The same doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medicine to help ease the discomfort.

Often they will also make a referral to our senior hand therapist for us to help to manage osteoarthritis in the hands. If pain and stiffness continue to be a problem, the doctor may recommend surgery.

What can a hand therapist do for me?

Our senior hand therapists are a great resource in the treatment of hand osteoarthritis.

The main goal in hand therapy is to

Our senior hand therapists may suggest using heat to decrease joint stiffness and pain. We may custom-make a hand splint for you to provide rest and proper positioning to painful joints.

Also, we will provide instruction in the use of adaptive equipment and also provide a specialized home program to

  • protect the joints
  • decrease joint stiffness and
  • improve the ability to use your hand

Example of a resting orthosis for osteoarthritis in the index finger

Patients may also receive the following hand therapy treatment modalities: