Painful fingers, warm stiff joints, swollen knuckles and trouble moving fingers are some of the most common symptoms of arthritis in fingers.
Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints. While arthritis can invade any joint, the first symptoms of arthritis are visible in the fingers. Tenderness, warmth and redness around the joints is common in arthritis. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two common types of arthritis that affect the finger joints. Arthritis of the fingers usually affects the joints located in the fingertip and knuckles of the mid finger.
Symptoms of arthritis in finger joints can be clearly noticed as these body parts are the worst affected. Stiffness of finger is the most common symptom associated with osteoarthritis. It is accompanied by pain and swelling. In osteoarthritis, bending the fingers becomes a difficult task. Due to inflammation, the joints do not work properly, thus restricting the motion of the fingers. The person may experience persistent pain within the thumb base which is an indication of osteoarthritis of the basilar joint. Sometimes, the thumb's base may get swollen.
In some cases, osteoarthritis of fingers causes development of nodules or lumps around the knuckles. As a result, the knuckles get stiff, swollen and enlarged. People suffering from arthritis of fingers often find that their grip strength has reduced considerably. They are not able to hold objects firmly. Opening a jar or turning a key is no more a simple task. This loss of strength is a warning sign of finger osteoarthritis. The wrist joint is also affected and interferes with the mobility of the arms.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
Initially, rheumatoid arthritis (autoimmune disorder) affects the middle finger joints but over time the condition progresses and spreads to other fingers. Morning stiffness is a common complaint in rheumatoid arthritis patients. So, after getting up the first thing they notice, is that the joints have become stiff. This usually lasts for about an hour, making it difficult to start your daily schedule. Due to stiffness in joints, the person finds it impossible to straighten out his fingers. This is a disease that affects the same joints of both the hands. Tingling or numbness in the fingers can also occur. Complex deformities are also observed in the hands which signal rheumatoid arthritis. Deformities like 'swan neck' or 'Boutonniere' are also noticed. This causes shifting of the fingers from their normal position. As a result, finger movement gets distorted and is away from the thumb.
Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms
Sausage-like shape of fingers is often seen in people affected with psoriatic arthritis (autoimmune disease). In this form of arthritis, the small joints that are close to the nails are damaged. Changes in the appearance of the nail such as ridging, thickening, pitting and yellow-orange discoloration are prominent. This type of arthritis is very rare and generally occurs in men.
Osteoarthritis occurs due to gradual deterioration of cartilage (part of aging), tough elastic tissue attached at the end of the bone. Due to loss of cartilage, the affected bones rub against each other, causing inflammation of the joints. However, the onset of arthritis is not always due to wear and tear of cartilage. Unhealthy eating habits and diet lacking in nutrition can cause toxic matter to accumulate in the joints. This buildup of toxic matter is what causes the immune system to overreact and attack the joint tissues, leading to inflammation and pain.
Relieving Arthritis Symptoms
Did you know that a change in diet will help improve pain? As aforementioned, many times arthritis pain is due to accumulation of toxins in our body that impede cell function. In order to get rid of these toxins and promote cell regeneration, one has to specifically follow a raw diet. Raw foods do an excellent job of neutralizing toxins, which in turn provides relief from pain. Completely switching to raw diet temporarily is necessary to eliminate toxins. One can include raw vegetables, fruits, buttermilk and coconut water in the diet but cooked food and milk should be strictly avoided. Eat only raw food just for 3 weeks and one can expect the pain to fade away. Even after the pain vanishes ensure that 50% of your meal is made up of raw food.
Herbs such as ginger and garlic display anti-inflammatory properties, hence can be extremely effective to treat inflammatory conditions like finger arthritis. Including these anti-inflammatory foods is one of the best ways to prevent flare-ups. You can simply grate any of these herbs and sprinkle it over your salad. Preparing tea made from these herbs can also contribute in controlling arthritis. Turmeric, a frequently used condiment is well-known for its potent anti-inflammatory activity. So, using it as a salad dressing can also work to combat arthritis effectively.
Hand arthritis does restrict your movement of fingers but keeping the fingers immobile all the time can make matters worse. So, in order to improve flexibility of joints and muscles, it is crucial to do little bit of exercise. Opening and closing the palm and stretching the fingers wide apart are some of the exercises that may help to increase mobility in joints.
Conventional treatment that involves use of anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen) may help to decrease joint pain and inflammation. Cortisone injections may also help to control arthritis symptoms. Surgical treatment such as joint replacement surgery is essential if the aforementioned treatment options fail to relieve arthritis symptoms.