Hand and wrist arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases are common causes of chronic pain, swelling and loss of movement in your fingers, thumb and wrist. Unlike carpal tunnel syndrome, which involves irritation and compression of a major wrist nerve, joint disorders usually involve the breakdown of cartilage meant to cushion joint bones. As cartilage degrades, bones rub and scrape against each other, causing pain and stiffness.
If your hand pain doctor in NYC diagnoses you with osteoarthritis, cartilage deterioration is probably affecting your basal joint (base of the thumb), your proximal interphalangeal joint (the joint in the middle of your fingers), your distal interphalangeal joint (the joint closest to your fingernails) or the wrist.
A chronic inflammatory disease attacking joints when your immune system mistakenly targets synovial fluid as an infection, rheumatoid arthritis is a more serious form of arthritis that can cause deformities in the hand and fingers. Treatment indicated by a hand pain doctor in Staten Island for RA includes medications for slowing disease activity, such as corticosteroids, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), biologics and JAK inhibitors. A new type of DMARD, JAK inhibitors block enzyme pathways involved in stimulating your immune system.
Another form of arthritis is gout, or the excess buildup of uric acid in the bloodstream. Unless preventively treated, gout causes needle-shaped crystals to develop in your joints. These crystals cause intense pain and swelling in finger joints and the wrists, often to the point of severe deformity. Gout attacks come and go without warning, with flare-ups typically following injury or illness. Your hand pain doctor in Jersey City will use a combination of NSAIDs, colchicine (a pain reliever especially effective against gout), corticosteroids or a prescription medication designed to inhibit uric acid production.
An autoimmune disease similar to rheumatoid arthritis, lupus also causes the immune system to attack healthy joints and tissues with destructive antibodies. If you have lupus, your hand joints and wrist will likely be affected by pain and stiffness. Lupus may also cause inflammation in your lungs, heart and kidneys. Medications approved by the FDA for treating lupus include corticosteroids, anti-malarials, the monoclonal antibody belimumab and repository corticotropin injections.
Other reasons you may be experiencing hand and wrist pain include carpal tunnel syndrome, ganglion cysts or “trigger finger” (stenosing tenosynovitis).
When severe pain, deformity or immobility make the use of your hand, fingers and wrist nearly impossible, hand surgery may be necessary to restore full or at least partial functioning of your hand. Common reasons people elect to have hand surgery include:
To eliminate or greatly reduce pain and numbness produced by carpal tunnel syndrome, your hand surgeon in NYC can relieve pressure by operating on the carpal tunnel ligament. This procedure is done under local anesthetic and no hospital stay is involved.
Snapping or tearing of tendons controlling your wrist and hand may need to be repaired through surgery. Tendon rupture is usually the result of RA or other forms of inflammatory arthritis.
If rheumatoid arthritis damages your metacarpophalangeal joints to the point of deformity and uselessness, your hand surgeon in Jersey City may suggest a knuckle joint replacement procedure to improve finger positioning, reduce pain and optimize finger/hand movement.
Get an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment for your hand pain by calling Regional Orthopedics and making an appointment with a skilled hand pain doctor in NYC.