If you know someone with gnarled and misshapen hands, chances are you know someone suffering from arthritis. Fortunately, not everyone will get arthritis in the hands and wrists. Family history is a factor according to Dr. Eon Shin, an Orthopedic Surgeon at St. Mary Medical Center. Another factor is how you use your hands and wrists on a day-to-day basis. People who regularly perform repetitive strenuous activities such as in construction may be predisposed to the condition.
He says if the joints of your fingers are swollen or bent, or if the hands and wrists swell and are painful, you should see your doctor. An x-ray can be used to determine if arthritis is to blame. There are many treatments available including splint immobilization, anti-inflammatory medications, or corticosteroid injections. When everything has been tried and there is still no relief, surgery may be an option. Doctors can fuse or replace the arthritic joints.
If you’re wondering about the treatments your grandmother used, he says some of them do work. Paraffin wax treatments for the hand and wrist can be beneficial. Using heat in the morning to warm up the affected joints is a good way to start the day. Cold treatments at night can reduce swelling.