The joints in the fingers are the most delicate parts of the body that can be affected by arthritis. When osteoarthritis develops in these joints, they can cause pain and eventually loss of function and deformity of the affected area.
Symptoms of arthritis in the finger joint
- Dull and burning sensation in the fingers.
- The tissues that line the joint are swollen caused by excessive stress or injury.
- Stiffness of the joints especially in the morning because the joint is not moved or used for several hours.
- The ligaments and tissues that hold the joints in place eventually become weak and result to the deformities in the fingers and hands.
- When the joint is damaged, the tissues and ligaments found around the affected area are inflamed and warm along with redness around the affected area.
- Cysts develop in the affected hands. The cysts look like small dents or ridges on the fingers. They usually form at the end of the finger and under fingernail. The cysts are usually ¼ inch in size and usually develop in older people. The cysts look like a “pearl” on the top of the hand near the nail.
- Bone spurs can also develop in the joint of the fingers and prevents the joints from functioning properly.
- Take a rest and minimize using the fingers for at least a few days. Wear a finger splint to relax the joint and minimize unnecessary movements and for fast healing of the condition.
- Take over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen every 4-6 hours until inflammation and pain are reduced.
- Elevate the affected finger above the level of the heart to lessen the swelling and pain.
- Apply an ice pack directly on the affected fingers so that the source of pain is compressed for at least 15-20 minutes every 3-4 hours for the first 48-72 hours until the inflammation is minimized.
- When the inflammation is reduced, apply a heating pad on the affected area several times every day for increased blood flow in the area.
- When inflammation is reduced, gently bend the end and the middle joints of the fingers and keep the knuckles and wrist straight and then straighten them back. Repeat the process at least 10 times.
- Perform simple exercises for the finger to prevent the joints from stiffening. Squeeze a rubber ball or a foam ball using the hand. Another way is holding the hand infront of the body with fingers spread open and try bending each finger one by one toward the palm and up again.
- Wear gloves when cleaning chores. Arthritic fingers are numb and cannot feel hot or cold cleansers that cause irritation and damage the skin. Use therapeutic or driving gloves during winter to give protection and support for the tendons and ligaments of the fingers. When gardening, always use outdoor gloves to prevent injuring the knuckles.