4 Quick Tips for Managing Osteoarthritis in Your Hands

Source: Johns Hopkins

What Exactly is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a joint disease which results from a breakdown of joint cartilage and the underlying bone. Due to its breakdown nature, it is referred to as degenerative arthritis. Common symptoms are joint pain and stiffness which can occur in any joint. Follow these treatment tips.

Practice Hand Exercises

Keep a daily routine to maintain manual dexterity and range of motion for your hands and fingers. Great exercises you can try:

  • Open your hand, palm upward, and allow it to relax in a natural position. Next, move your thumb tip toward your pinky base or as far as you can in that direction. Do several sets of this for each hand.
  • Next, try slowly bending all your fingers in unison at the middle joints (of your fingers). Keep your fingers close together or touching for this exercise. Do several sets of this for each hand slowly bending your fingers down and then back up, bending only at the middle joint.
  • Lastly, make a letter “C” with your fingers. Leave that shape by extending the fingers and thumb straight. Do several sets of this for each hand.

After you are able to do the above exercises slowly with good form, begin practicing faster without losing the intended form. Keeping your hands active is important and so is allowing your hands to rest.

Apply Heat or Cold

Typically, stiffness is reduced by applying heat. And swelling, (as well as pain), is reduced by applying cold. Application methods vary widely and take the form such as hot/cold pads or hot/cold baths or showers. Experiment and understand which method serves you best as you consult with your physician or therapist.

Stay Informed

Get educated about the causes of osteoarthritis. Educate yourself online so you are prepared when you meet with your medical expert. Live or online support groups can be a great starting point.

Get Professional Support

Realize that at the end of the day, the most trusted and reliable support available to you will be someone who is a professional in this field and your loved ones.

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