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Rheumatoid Arthritis of the fingers: causes, symptoms and treatment

Rheumatoid arthritis refers to severe systemic inflammatory diseases, primarily affecting the joints. As a rule, the disease occurs in symmetrical joints.

This means that when the signs of the disease appear on one hand, the same joints on the other are affected. Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by a wavy course, when the period of deterioration is spontaneously replaced by a period of improvement.


Causes of rheumatoid arthritis of the hands

Rheumatoid Arthritis of the fingers

The main reason is the violation of the immune system. In addition, for the emergence of the disease, several factors are important:

  • heredity (the likelihood of developing arthritis is higher if close relatives suffer from this disease);
  • the presence of autoimmune diseases (lupus, systemic scleroderma);
  • borne bacterial and viral infections (often a trigger for the emergence of rheumatoid arthritis is the infection with hepatitis B, herpes, rubella, measles);
  • adverse external effects (stress, intoxication, severe or prolonged hypothermia, trauma);
  • hormonal changes (pregnancy, menopause).

The probability of the onset of the disease increases if one or more factors become permanent (chronic).

The first symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis of the fingers

The first symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis of the fingers

Aching pains and the inability to squeeze a fist - the first signs that should alert

This disease is slow, but clinical manifestations are constantly increasing.

  • As the first symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis of the fingers, there is an increase in body temperature, chills, decreased appetite, weight loss, worsening of sleep, weakness.
  • Then follows the onset of the disease, which can be acute or subacute. Most often there is the second option.

You should alert the aching pains in the joints of both hands immediately. There is swelling and redness of the joints, stiffness. It is almost impossible to squeeze a hand into a fist. Pain sensations are not constant, often are associated with a strong physical exertion. Usually the pain becomes stronger at night and lasts until the morning, then gradually subsides and in the evening can completely disappear.

  • In the morning, the joints are inactive, but gradually during the movement the stiffness goes away (in the initial stage of the disease), can last several hours (at the second degree) or remain constant with the full development of the disease (third degree).

Due to circulatory disorders, the skin of the hands and wrists acquires pallor, becomes thinned and dry, muscle atrophy, necrosis around the nail bed can begin.

Symptoms and signs of rheumatoid arthritis of the hands

signs of rheumatoid arthritis of the hands

The onset of the disease can be determined by such signs as inflammation and swelling of the metacarpophalangeal joints of the index and middle finger (these joints are located at the base of the fingers), joint creaking during movements (crepitation), numbness and tingling in the first three fingers.

As the disease intensifies, the joints of the fingers begin to deform, they acquire a spindle-shaped form, they form rheumatoid nodules.

The deformation continues to progress and the fingers are fixed in the wrong curved position. The motor activity of the hands decreases quite rapidly. This process is irreversible.

Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis of the hands

Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis of the hands

photo scheme of rheumatoid nodules on fingers

A complete cure for today is impossible, but the earlier the treatment was started, the more success can be achieved in alleviating the patient's condition, the more likely it is to prevent or slow the rheumatic damage of internal organs and muscles.

Correctly selected medications give an opportunity to get a long-term improvement in the patient's well-being. But another stress, hypothermia or other cause again lead to an increase in the symptoms of arthritis.

Drug therapy of the disease is aimed at the elimination of pain and stiffness in the joints of the hand, to slow the current pathological process.

  • Used drugs from the group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which reduce inflammation and pain. They can be used already in the early stages of the disease.

Basic (basic) drugs with immunomodulating and anti-inflammatory effects are used after an accurate diagnosis.

  • Preparations of hormones (glucocorticosteroids) are used to support and strengthen ongoing therapy, or in the case of ineffectiveness of other medications used.
  • To remove from the body existing inflammation provokers, procedures such as hemosorption and plasmapheresis are used.
  • Some drugs are applied topically - they are injected into the cavity of the affected joint.
  • Physiotherapy is prescribed - electrophoresis, ultraviolet irradiation, magnetotherapy.

With a particularly pronounced deformity of the joints, surgical treatment is used. During the operation, remove part of the joint or the joint as a whole and replace it with a prosthesis.

In each specific case, a rheumatologist must decide how to treat rheumatoid arthritis of the hands most successfully.

Gymnastics and diet

In addition to these procedures, it is recommended to practice therapeutic gymnastics for joints and adjust the diet, eliminating the products provoking the development of the disease from it - strong broths of meat, fish, mushrooms, marinades, smoked products, canned goods, milk, corn, citrus, oatmeal, coffee and strong tea , too hot or cold food.

It is necessary to ensure a constant supply of protein with food, its amount can be even slightly increased. The number of animal fats, sugar must be reduced. Necessarily the presence in the diet of vegetable oils rich in vitamins A, E, C.

Regular exercises with a wrist ball with rheumatoid arthritis of the hands will help to maintain the mobility of the joints. This is also facilitated by knitting, playing on musical instruments.

Complications of rheumatoid arthritis of the hands

This disease affects not only the joints of the fingers, but also the entire body as a whole.

  • The first visible complication is the deformation of the joints of the hand. There are several typical types of deformation in rheumatoid arthritis of the fingers - "walrus fin", "swan neck", "buttonhole".
  • The state of the skin changes.
  • Arthritis of large joints develops, the spine is involved in the process.
  • Over time, the disease begins to spread to the internal organs and skeletal muscles.
  • In addition to the consequences of the disease, complications can be given by the drugs used, which leads to osteoporosis, amyloidosis, serious deviations in the process of hematopoiesis.

Prevention of rheumatoid arthritis

Since rheumatoid arthritis of the hands and fingers is an autoimmune disease, prevention does not exist. You can only recommend compliance with certain rules:

  • avoid constant psycho-emotional overstrain, hypothermia;
  • timely and fully cure infectious diseases;
  • easy exercises to maintain and maintain the full volume of movements in the joints of the hands;
  • In the presence of the disease, relatives regularly undergo a preventive examination by a specialist.

For many years, the diagnosis of "rheumatoid arthritis" meant an inevitable disability. Recently, there were opportunities to prevent relapses and provide the patient with a long-term remission.

A favorable result in treatment ensures timely detection of the disease and timely therapy started. In this case, the improvement of the condition and the onset of remission are possible within the first year.


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