Each hand is made up of 25 bones involving joints in fingers as well as the wrist. Any ailment of the hands leads to difficulty in performing routine functions such as gripping, holding etc. and could also lead to deformity.
Arthritis in hands causes inflammation, swelling, stiffness, pain etc. The two main types of arthritis are:
Osteoarthritis - This occurs generally in older people and pain gradually increases over a period of time. The padding or the natural shock absorbers of the hands - the cartilage is affected, causing pain, restricting movements and reducing strength.
Rheumatoid Arthritis - This is a more severe form and unlike Osteo, the location of pain in the body cannot be predicted. The effect is not only on joints but also on muscles, tendons and other tissues of the body.
1- Pain - Initial symptoms include pain in hands with a burning sensation. It increases when the hands are stressed with activities like lifting weight, writing, knitting or any continuous and regular movement. Pain becomes so severe that at times, one cannot even sleep at night. Pain increases in humid weather and even small activities such as opening a lock or opening a jar in the kitchen are also hampered.
2- Swelling- with pain, if stress continues for a longer period of time, swelling is caused and restricts
further joint movement.
3- Stiffness- With persistent pain, the stiffness increases. Also, it is more in the mornings and in colder climate.
4- Warmth- The affected joint may feel warm when touched.
5- Increased mobility of other hands- The hands surrounding the affected one may feel more mobile than normal.
6- Cysts - Small cysts may form on the knuckles especially at the end.
7- Deformity- In advanced stages, continuous swelling may cause shape change. Also, the joint may feel loose and crippled. The basic structure of the joint may become weak.