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What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the wearing away of the cartilage where two bones meet to form a joint.  As the cartilage becomes thinner it leads to joint inflammation, pain and stiffness. It may also result in deformity of the affected joints.

Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis in the Fingers and Thumb

The primary symptom of osteoarthritis in the hands is aching finger joints. In the hands, osteoarthritis most commonly affects the small joints of the fingers (the DIP and PIP joints) as well as  the joint at the base of the thumb (CMC joint). 


Early arthritis in the fingers may present as small lumps around the joints.  These are called osteophytes, which are small bony spurs forming on the sides of the affected joints.     Arthritis in the fingers or thumb, often causes swelling which in turn makes the fingers feel more stiff.  This is typically worse in the mornings.  

Treatment for Arthritis in the Fingers and Thumb

Our hand therapists stock a range of arthritis gloves which can be worn at night or during hand use.  Arthritis gloves provide light compression to reduce the swelling associated with arthritis as well as provide light support to the joints for pain relief.   Our hand therapists can also fit individual custom-made neoprene fingerstalls which help to protect the most painful joints.

When arthritis affects the thumb joints, there are excellent splints available which are designed specifically for arthritis in the thumb.   These help to stabilise the painful joints, so that you can use the thumb with less pain.  Our therapists can also custom-make splints to suit individual patient needs.

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We offer a range of pain relieving treatment modalities including wax bath, therapeutic ultrasound,  interX neurostimulation and trigger point dry needling.   Our therapists can also teach you specific exercises aimed at maintaining range of motion, joint stability and strength. 

Our hand therapists can provide advice on how best to protect your painful hands during daily tasks.   Bayside Hand Therapy also stock a variety of aids for arthritic hands such as jar and bottle openers, key holders, pen grips, large handled cutlery and more.

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