At The Hand Center at Crawford Plastic Surgery, Dr. Steven Bailey diagnoses and treats arthritis of the hand, wrist, and elbow so patients from the greater Atlanta, GA area can experience relief from this debilitating condition.

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis refers to an inflamed joint, and can affect any joint in the body. When arthritis affects the joints in the hand or wrist, it can seriously inhibit the patient?s ability to perform normal daily functions.

Arthritis Symptoms

The general symptoms of arthritis include pain, stiffness, redness, and swelling at the joints. In addition, the joints of the hand may appear wider, larger, or deformed, or develop nodes or cysts. Eventually, arthritis may weaken the grip of the hand or make it difficult for patients to bend or straighten their fingers, wrist, or elbow.

Causes of Arthritis

The cause of arthritis depends on its type. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition in which the cartilage around the joint wears away. Age and occupations that require excessive use of the joints are the most common causes of osteoarthritis. Other causes include injury, infection, gout, and psoriasis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that attacks the body?s synovial linings and fluid, which lubricate and nourish the cartilage and joints. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, white blood cells cause swelling of the synovial membrane.

Types of Arthritis

  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis most commonly affects the metacarpophalangeal joints (MP) of the index and middle fingers and the carpometacarpal joint (CMC) of the thumb. The MP joint connects the finger bones to the hand bones and the CMC thumb joint or basilar thumb joint connects the base of the thumb to the wrist. Other joints frequently involved include the distal interphalangeal joint (DIP).
  • Post-traumatic arthritis: This type of arthritis results from injury and trauma, and can affect any joint in the body.
  • Psoriatic arthritis: About 5 to 20 percent of patients with psoriasis (a skin disease that results in red, dry, scaly rashes) have associated arthritis, which is similar in form to rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis typically affects the wrists and knuckles.

Arthritis Diagnosis

To diagnose the type and severity of your arthritis, Dr. Bailey will:

  • Ask you about your symptoms and how they affect your daily functions
  • Ask if you have a family history of arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis
  • Examine the areas affected by arthritis to check for nodes, cysts, or other signs of arthritis
  • Check the function of your joints, including your range of motion and ability to bend or straighten the joint
  • Take X-rays of the affected area to check joint space and look for the presence of bone spurs
  • Take lab tests, such as blood tests or an MRI

Treatment of Arthritis

Non-surgical treatments such as the use of pain medications like NSAIDs, oral or injectable steroids, exercise, physical therapy, or splints may be used to treat arthritis.

Surgical treatment options include:

  • Joint fusion surgery
  • Joint reconstruction
  • Joint replacement
  • Removal of the inflamed lining of the joint
  • Removal of inflamed tissue
  • Removal of lumps
  • Removal of bone spurs

To schedule an appointment for arthritis diagnosis and treatment, contact The Hand Center at Crawford Plastic Surgery today.