You may not think about how much you use your hands until symptoms of arthritis begin to affect them, making the activities you once enjoyed challenging or even impossible. Arthritis of the hand in Louisiana poses considerable limitations to those who suffer from it.
Of the nearly 50 million Americans with arthritis, about 2 million say that the condition limits their ability to grasp small objects, and about 3 million report difficulty lifting or carrying anything weighing 10 pounds or more.
Recognizing Symptoms of Arthritis of the Hand in Louisiana
Women are more likely than men to experience arthritis in their hands, and often people experience symptoms in their hands before other signs of arthritis appear.
Different forms of arthritis affect the hands in different ways. For example, psoriatic arthritis – a type of arthritis-related to the skin condition psoriasis – is most likely to cause pain in the joints closest to the fingernails. In osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis, cartilage can wear down in all the joints in the fingers and thumb.
Symptoms of arthritis of the hand in Louisiana may include:
- Pain in some or all of the joints;
- The growth of bony knobs on finger joints;
- Numbness in fingers;
- Swollen, red, or warm joints;
- Stiffness in the fingers, especially in the morning;
- The growth of lumps, or nodules, under the skin of the hands;
- Swollen fingers;
- The difficulty with motions that require gripping and twisting.
Exercises That Help Relieve Arthritis of the Hand in Louisiana
If someone is pain-free, it is critical to keep joints in a good range of motion. Being pain-free is the key, especially when doing exercises intended to build strength. When pain is present, rest and pain management may be a better option.
Try these range-of-motion exercises to keep your hands, fingers, and thumbs flexible and to ease symptoms of arthritis in the fingers and in the hands overall.
- Close your fist and then gradually open your hand, stretching your fingers out, then close slowly into a fist again.
- Make circle motions with your thumb, keeping it straight.
- Stretch your thumb away from the palm of your hand, then use it to touch each fingertip.
Repeat these exercises 3 to 10 times daily. Stop if you feel pain in a joint or if you’re experiencing additional pain that lasts more than two hours when you’re finished exercising. Some people find that doing these hand exercises under warm water is helpful.
Staying Physically Active Despite Hand Arthritis
Your doctor will tell you that staying physically active is an important part of managing arthritis. Studies show that in adults with arthritis who are over the age of 65, a lack of regular, vigorous physical activity doubled the risk of functional decline. In other words, the less physically active the participants were, the more likely they were to become disabled.
If symptoms of arthritis in your hands or elsewhere are preventing you from participating in the physical activities you used to enjoy, it may be time to find new ways to be active. For example, you may want to experiment with water activities such as swimming, or try tai chi, dance, or walking, which has the added benefit of being low-cost.
If symptoms of arthritis of the hand in Louisiana are beginning to bother you, it is important to keep both your hands and body active. If you have doubts about how to do this safely, call our office today to schedule a consultation. Exercise is a wise investment in your long-term comfort and health.