How Do You Treat Arthritis In The Hands?

How Do You Treat Arthritis In The Hands?

Table of Contents

Hands and wrists are necessary tools to work and perform daily activities. How the hand and wrist interact depends on the integrity and subordinate of the ligaments, tendons, muscles, joints, and bones. 

Problems in any of these organs can affect upper limb function, causing disruption at home and work and negatively impacting the quality of life. The human hand itself has a very complex and delicate structure.

Whether to treat fractures, arthritis, or deformities, hand surgery requires several surgical approaches from a qualified hand and wrist surgeon.

Approximately one in five people worldwide have arthritis, with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis being the most common. 

Arthritis can affect any joint area, including wrists, knees, and hips, and it usually progresses over time. Although there are over-the-counter treatment options for arthritis, some severe cases may require surgery. 

Today, it is possible to treat all types of hand arthritis, especially hand arthritis, with new methods. Stay with us until the end of the article to know more about this.

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The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is a degenerative bone disease that slowly destroys the protective cartilage, allowing joints to slide easily when moving. 

As the cartilage wears away from arthritis, the smooth surface becomes rougher. This makes joint movement uncomfortable. 

Eventually, the cartilage may be destroyed, and the bone rubs directly onto the bone. Without protective cartilage, joint movement becomes very painful.

Increased friction during movement causes inflammation, which increases joint pain. Because each hand has 29 significant joints, people with arthritis in their hands feel almost constant pain during simple daily tasks. 

Arthritis of the hand causes the bones outside the fingers and the middle joints to become more prominent. Arthritis is a putrefactive joint disease in which the smooth cartilage that covers the bone surface of the joints is damaged or destroyed over time.

Related: “How Do You Slow Down Arthritis?

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Types of arthritis in the hand


  • Arthritis of the fingertip joint

About 10% of people have hereditary arthritis in the fingertip joints, also called distal interphalangeal joints. The pressure on our fingertips is similar to the pressure we put on our knees when we walk. 

For this reason, patients with small bumps on their fingers, called Heberden’s nodes, are usually small bony bumps. These bumps rarely need treatment unless it affects their mobility.

Heberden's nodes
  • Basal arthritis of the thumb

Approximately 25% of women over 50 develop arthritis in the thumb. This figure reaches more than 50% of women over 70 years old. Since men rarely have arthritis of the thumb, we believe that the ligaments that hold the joint together have estrogen receptors in women. 

After age 50, when women lose estrogen during menopause, the ligaments stretch, and the joint degenerates.

Basal arthritis of the thumb
  • Post-traumatic arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis is arthritis in the hand that occurs after a joint injury. However, since arthritis develops gradually, it is difficult to determine the exact onset time of this disease. 

For example, we see much arthritis in the wrist due to undiagnosed fractures, especially scaphoid or undiagnosed ligament injuries. With such injuries, early detection of arthritis is problematic because it can take 8-10 years or more before we recognize it, which is why it is common in 45-60 years of age.

  • Arthritis of the wrist

It is prone to arthritis because no muscles or tendons are attached to the eight bones in the wrist, meaning there is not much protection from everyday wear and tear.

Arthritis of the wrist

Symptoms of hand arthritis

The most common signs or symptoms of arthritis in the hand are joint pain and stiffness. Numb; and weakness in the hand

Other symptoms of arthritis in the hand include:

  • Inability to bend the finger
  • Throbbing or locking sensation in the hands or fingers
  • Boutonniere deformity is a deformity in which the joint of the middle finger bends.
  • Mucus-filled cysts form near the end of the finger.
  • An arthritic joint may feel warm to the touch.
  • Rubbing or grating sensation in the hand
  • The feeling of instability or looseness of hand joints
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Essential facts about hand arthritis

  • Women are more prone to arthritis than men.
  • Old age is an essential factor in hand arthritis.
  • Frequent and excessive movements in the area of the bones of the hand or wrist can be effective in arthritis of the hand.
  • Family history and genetics are also effective in getting arthritis in hand.
  • In general, arthritis in the hand may be caused by rheumatoid arthritis or arthritis after an injury.
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What are the risk factors for arthritis in the hand?

  • Age

  Although people of any age can develop arthritis, men are more likely than women to develop arthritis before 45, and women are more affected than men after 45.

  • trauma

  People who have broken the bones of their hand, wrist, or elbow are at a higher risk of developing arthritis in their hands.

  • Repetitive movements

People who do jobs or activities that require repetitive movements in their hands are more likely to develop arthritis of the hands, wrists, or elbows.

  • Deflection of joints

  Excessive friction of the joints caused by bone misalignment in the hands, wrists, or elbows can cause arthritis in the hand and wear down the cartilage in the hand, wrist, or elbow.

  • gender

Women are more amenable to rheumatoid arthritis than men.

Other influencing factors include:

  • family history
  • smoking
  • Environmental exposures
risk factors for arthritis in the hand

Can hand arthritis heal?

There is no way to prevent arthritis. Some lifestyle changes may reduce the likelihood:

  • Try not to do activities that repeat the same movements over and over, and if you can, avoid things that may overuse your joints.
  • Have a healthy weight.
  • Exercise to strengthen your joints and muscles.
  • Diabetes management

How do you treat arthritis in the hands?

Different types of treatments are available to treat arthritis in the hand. Most people find sedation with over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. Preventive approaches such as supplements and massage therapy can also help

For people with rheumatoid arthritis, certain medications can be used to restrict the immune system‘s overreaction. 

Treatments may become less effective over time. In most cases, arthritis in the hand is a progressive disease, and if the patient’s condition is not controlled, it becomes worse. 

Your doctor may recommend one or more of these treatments to help relieve pain and ease the use of your hand:

  • Immobilization devices:

    Splints and braces can keep your hand in a fixed position to reduce pain.

  • Hand exercises and exercises:

    The doctor may suggest you a series of daily exercises to strengthen and treat arthritis in the hand.

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  • Cortisone injection:

    An injection into the joint may help relieve the pain of arthritis in your hand for weeks or months. However, the doctor only offers these things a few times because it can cause complications such as infection and weakening of the ligaments.

  • Use of medical wristbands

    Use of pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen.

  • Surgery:

    The last treatment method for arthritis in the hand is surgery, which can only be determined by a doctor. If none of the above methods affect the person’s recovery, surgery is used.

Arthritis surgery can repair or replace the damaged joint(s). There are different treatment options depending on your needs. Joint fusion is recommended for severe bone loss. 

During surgery, the surgeon removes the surface of the arthritis. At the same time, it permanently joins the bones on both sides of the joint. This prevents further movement that worsens symptoms. 

Joint reconstruction allows joints to move after arthritis in hand surgery. During joint reconstruction, the damaged area of the joint is removed. Soft tissue from other body parts is used to reconstruct the joint. Sometimes an artificial joint may be used as a replacement.

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Almost more than half of older adults have hand arthritis, which is one of the most common diseases in people, so you should look for a permanent and suitable treatment for it.

Many people who suffer from hand arthritis face problems such as hand pain. One of the effective and practical ways to treat arthritis of the hand is surgery and hand joint replacement; if the best hand surgeon does it, the results are successful, leading to patient satisfaction and pain relief.

Suppose you experience the symptoms of this disease. In that case, you should go to one of the best specialists in this field as soon as possible so that the process of diagnosis and various preventive measures can be taken to reduce the symptoms of this disease.

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Author and specialist

Dr. Majid Zahrabi,


  • Board Certified Neurosurgeon
  • DHA certificate holder
  • Plantation certificate holder, France
  • Certified holder of Discogol, France
  • A pioneer in the non-surgical treatment of disc herniation in the Middle East and CIS countries.
  • Under the training and coaching of Professor Jacques Theron (founder of Discogel Therapy) since 2008
  • More than 400 successful cervical and 1300 lumbar discogel injections
  • Trained and certified several neurosurgeons and spine surgeons in the Middle East and CIS countries for the treatment of Discogel
  • Strong belief in patient-centered care planning and participation
  • Neurosurgeon and spine surgeon at Imam Khomeini and Amir Mazandarani Hospital, Sari, Iran, with more than 430 surgeries annually, 2000-2011
  • Neurosurgeon and spine surgeon at Farmaniyeh, Nikan and Yas Sepid Hospital, Tehran, Iran, with more than 400 surgeries annually, 2011-2012
  • Neurosurgeon at Iranian Hospital, Dubai, 2022-2023
  • Since 2015, he has been working as a reference doctor for the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation with Discogel and has trained many doctors of spine-related specialties in various countries of the Middle East and CIS in person/practically and online.



  • Individual training sessions under the direct supervision of Professor Jacques Theron in Discogel treatment, 2008-2020
  • Training sessions under the supervision of Professor Thierry Boye on spinal implants, 2007
  • Participation and presentation in several national and international medical and neuro-spinal conferences
  • Board certificate by Iran Neurosurgery Board, 2001
  • Neurosurgery assistant training course, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran, 1996-2001 (In 2001, he graduated from Isfahan University of Medical Sciences with the first rank in the country.
  • His thesis the titled:The Application of human amniotic membrane in repair of dura matter in dogs.” ( It was happening for the first time in the world. )
  • General medical education, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran, 1984-1993


Published books:

  • CT scan of the brain for doctors
  • Etiology and treatment of painful spine disorders
  • Atlas of diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of spine disorders
  • The most common mistakes in the treatment of spinal disorders
  • Reading brain CT scan in simple language (3rd place in the book of the year)
  • Treatment of head and spine injuries

Publications and articles:

  • Bacteriostatic and bactericidal effects of DISCOGEL® (https://www.researchgate.net/)
  • Muscle recovery, reduction of pain, and improvement of movement strategies in patients with lumbar discopathy after injection of Discogel.
  • The article on the initial results of the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation with discogel injection, which won the second-best poster rank at the Pan Arab International Congress of Interventional Radiology (March 14-16, 2015) and was accepted for presentation at the Chicago Pain Congress.
  • The use of human amniotic membrane in dura mater repair in dogs, a study for the first time in the world.



  • Annual Congress of Physiotherapists of Iran, 2019
  • Chicago International Pain Congress, 2019
  • Iran International Pain Management Congress, 2018
  • Annual Congress of Physiotherapists of Iran, 2018
  • Presentation of Discogel as an innovative solution for the treatment of spinal disc herniation in Armenia for orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons, 2017
  • First Live Workshop and Seminar on Minimally Invasive Disc Therapy (DISCON), 2017
  • Presentation of Discogel as an innovative solution for the treatment of spinal disc herniation in Azerbaijan for orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons, 2016
  • Seminar of Iranian official managers, 2016
  • Presentation of Discogel as an innovative solution for the treatment of spinal disc herniation in Tajikistan for orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons, 2016
  • International Neurological Intervention Congress in Iran, 2014
  • Educational seminar for nurses on treatment approaches for head and spine trauma, 2014
  • Educational seminar for general practitioners on treatment approaches for head and spine trauma, 2014
  • Speech at the Retraining Seminar for General Practitioners and Specialists in Dubai (Discon) in 2017
  • Speech in the internal retraining courses of Irani Hospital, Dubai
  • Holding lecture sessions and practical workshops on the treatment of intervertebral disc herniation with discogel injection in Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Oman, and Armenia during the years 2015 to 2021.
  • Giving a lecture and holding a practical workshop for neurosurgeons in Vietnam at Ho Chi Minh City University in 2023

Dr. Majid Zohrabi started treating his patients in Dubai in 2022 and continues his activities in private medical centers in the UAE.