Arthritic Hands

Written by James Lyons
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The human hand contains 27 different bones. Combine that with the two forearm bones that help make up the wrist (radius and ulna) and you have a breeding ground for arthritis. Arthritis can attack any joint in the body and it particularly likes the joints in the hands. Joints occur whenever two or more bones come together.

Millions of people in the United States alone suffer from arthritic hands. It's the most visible form of arthritis. The joints of the wrists and fingers often swell, tighten, and become discolored. Those suffering from the ailment often find it hard to accomplish the simplest of tasks like tying shoes or opening a jar of mayonnaise. These simple, everyday tasks can become incredibly painful if you have arthritic hands.

Types of Arthritis in the Hands

Osteoarthritis of the hand is one of the most common forms of arthritis. Over time, the cartilage between the joints wears out and eventually osteoarthritis sets in. This type of arthritis typically emerges at the base of the thumb (where the thumb meets the wrist), at the center joint of the finger (known as the proximal interphalangeal joint) or the tip of the finger (known as the distal interphalangeal joint).

Rheumatoid arthritis of the hand occurs when the cells that lubricate and line the joints are attacked. The synovium or joint lining typically swells. This can start a terrible chain reaction during which the swollen synovium causes the surrounding ligaments to stretch. Ligaments are connective tissues that bind bones together so damage to this tissue can lead to physical deformity.


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