North Hampshire Hospital
The Hampshire Clinic
Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK

Mr John Britton FRCS
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Information for patients undergoing orthopaedic treatment



Osteoarthritis of the hand

Osteoarthritis often affects the hand; the joints of both the fingers and the wrist may be involved.

Arthritis of the finger points, most commonly those at the end of the finger, is common in older age. Typically the joints become swollen and tender (Heberden's nodes); with time however the pain frequently settles and treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs is all that is required. Occasionally persistently painful joints may require surgical fusion.

The base of the thumb is a particularly common site to get osteoarthritis. Treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections or splints may suffice, but frequently surgery is required. A trapeziectomy is a highly successful treatment for this condition.

Osteoarthritis of the wrist may be seen after a fracture that damages the joint. It may also be seen after a condition known as Keinboch's disease; this condition affects young adults and is caused by collapse of one of the bones in the hand - the precise reason for this occurring remains uncertain.
The surgical treatment for an osteoarthritic wrist is a fusion.


J M Britton 2007

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