What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis and is sometimes called “degeneration” or “wear and tear” of the joint. Osteoarthritis causes thinning and destruction of the smooth cartilage which covers, cushions and protects the ends of a bone at the joint. The cartilage can eventually wear away, leaving the ends of the bone exposed. Having osteoarthritis in the hand impacts greatly on strength, movement and most importantly function

The main symptoms are joint pain, stiffness, instability and muscle weakness (due to pain). These symptoms can be dramatic and disabling, and impact your ability to perform everyday functional activities.

The team at Handworks understand that there is no current cure for Osteoarthritis, but there are many different ways to cope with the condition and help reduce pain and further joint degeneration.

Treatment options that may be discussed by your therapist include:

    • Hot/Cold

Heat, such as hot wheat packs can help ease stiff joints. Some people find that ice packs can      help ease pain in inflamed joints.

      • Exercise

Regular gentle exercise is important to maintain mobility of joints impacted by osteoarthritis. Your therapist may also provide you with specific strengthening exercises designed to increase stability and prevent deformity through your hands.

        • Splints/Orthosis

Splints can be beneficial in reducing strain or movement at painful joints and preventing further wear and tear during daily living activities. Your therapist will prescribe any appropriate splints

          • Assistive devices

Assistive devices such as jar openers can help reduce the wear on joints and ease pain. Speak with you therapist about appropriate devices for you.

            • Joint Protection

Protecting your joints means using your joints in ways that avoid excess stress. Benefits include decreased pain, greater ease in doing tasks and preventing deformity.