Inflammatory Arthritis

What are the signs of arthritis in your hands?

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If you are experiencing symptoms that are making you wonder if you have arthritis in your hands, this article will be a good guide. It covers the types of arthritis that affect the hands and the symptoms associated with them, so that you can seek medical help and advice from your GP if needed. 

Types of arthritis that affect hands

There are three main types of arthritis that affect your hands, including: Osteoarthritis (OA), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), and Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA). Each of these types of arthritis can affect your fingers, knuckles or palms to varying degrees. Let’s look a bit further into the symptoms associated with these conditions. 

Osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that is diagnosed. It occurs when the cartilage between our bones wear down/break down, which causes a host of symptoms. 

Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the hands include (but are not limited to): 

  • Joint stiffness after periods of inactivity 
  • Pain or a feeling of achiness in the joints
  • Grinding, clicking or cracking sound when moving joints in the hands
  • Swelling around the joints
  • Joint weakness 

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system is not working correctly and attacks the lining of your joints. This type of arthritis can impact various parts of the body, especially your hands. 

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis in the hands include (but are not limited to): 

  • Long periods of pain, swelling, stiffness and sensitivity in the joints (6+ weeks)
  • Your hands feeling stiff in the morning for over half an hour 

It’s common for specific parts of the body such as the hands and feet to be primarily affected by the above symptoms. You may also generally feel fatigued. 

Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

Psoriatic Arthritis can affect those who have been diagnosed with the skin condition psoriasis. 

Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis in the hands include (but are not limited to): 

  • Pain, swelling, stiffness in joints (often the hands)
  • Swollen and/or stiff joints (fingers, toes)

You may experience pain in your back or shoulder and general fatigue.

All of these forms of arthritis share similar symptoms and therefore you may be unsure as to which type of arthritis you are experiencing. If you believe that you may have arthritis, please contact your GP for a consultation, in order to receive a proper diagnosis.

Additionally, some symptoms may appear like arthritis but could be representative of a different issue. 

Knowing which type of arthritis you are affected by (if at all) will help to shape your treatment. 

Living with arthritis can be difficult, but there are tools that can help you manage your condition, making it easier to track your medication, get the right kind of exercise, manage your diet and connect with others who share your experiences. 

Ampersand Health’s My Arthritis app can help you do all of those things on your phone as well as giving you access to webinars and regular community events. Find out more about our personalised digital therapies for arthritis or read our resources

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