Arthritis of the Hand

Article by Dr. Darren R Keiser MD

The hand and wrist have multiple small joints that work together to produce motion, including the fine motion needed to thread a needle or tie a shoelace. When the joints are affected by arthritis, activities of daily living can be difficult. Arthritis can occur in many areas of the hand and wrist and can have more than one cause. Over time, if the arthritis is not treated, the bones that make up the joint can lose their normal shape. This causes more pain and further limits motion.

Simply defined, arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, but there are more than 100 different forms.

Healthy joints move easily because of a smooth, slippery tissue called articular cartilage. Cartilage covers the ends of bones and provides a smooth gliding surface for the joint. This smooth surface is lubricated by a fluid that looks and feels like oil. It is produced by the joint lining called synovium.

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Article URL: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00224