Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a condition in which the defense systems of the body malfunction and attack the body’s own tissues (instead of foreign invaders). Effects of this disease are widespread in the body, but the small joints of the hands, wrists, and feet are often the first areas affected. When the immune system damages tissues in these joints, the ligaments and joint capsules become less supportive and the articular cartilage (which covers the ends of the bone to help them move passed each other smoothly) starts to erode leading to increasing pain and deformity in the joint.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand
- Pain in the hand
- Swelling in the hand
- Stiffness in the hand, worse in the morning
- Feeling of warmth in the hand
- Nodules or lumps in the hand
- Multiple joints affected, joints on both sides of the body affected
Complications of Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand
Due to the increased pressure within the joint, stiffness can develop which may lead to contracture deformities where normally flexible connective tissue in the joint becomes less elastic.
Things to do at home for Rheumatoid Arthritis of the hand
- Follow an exercise program prescribed by a physician and/or physical therapist to strengthen joints without stressing them
- Wearing a splint for a short period of time to protect the joint and allow pain to subside
Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand
We use the following approaches to relieve Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms in the hand:
- ASTR® Tools: Our doctors use a variety of ASTR® tools to release scar tissue and myofascial restriction, which can decrease mobility and flexibility.
- Special exercise program to decrease pain, strengthen the muscles, stabilize and help the patient to return to normal function and activities.
- Special instructions on how to speed up the recovery time.
- Cold Laser Therapy: Tissue inflammation is common with Rheumatoid Arthritis in the hand. Cold laser is used in order to decrease inflammation that causes pressure on the affected area.