How to Treat Arthritis in Hand: Effective Tips & Solutions

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on How Treat Arthritis in Hand. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with hand arthritis, you may be wondering what options are available to relieve symptoms and improve hand function. In this article, we will explore the causes and symptoms of hand arthritis, diagnostic procedures, non-surgical and surgical treatments, as well as home remedies and hand exercises that can help manage the condition. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your health and well-being.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hand arthritis is a common condition that can cause joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and limited range of motion.
  • Diagnosing hand arthritis typically involves physical exams, reviewing medical history, and imaging tests.
  • Non-surgical treatments for hand arthritis include medications, physical therapy, hand exercises, orthotics, and lifestyle modifications.
  • Surgical options for hand arthritis may include joint fusion, joint replacement, and arthroscopy.
  • Managing hand arthritis pain can be done through heat or cold therapy, topical creams or ointments, and complementary therapies.
  • Home remedies like herbal supplements, essential oils, and lifestyle changes can complement medical treatment for hand arthritis.
  • Hand exercises specifically designed for arthritis relief can improve hand function and alleviate symptoms.

Understanding Arthritis in the Hand

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with hand arthritis, it is essential to understand the condition thoroughly. Hand arthritis is a condition that affects the joints in the hand, causing pain, stiffness, and limited mobility.

how treat arthritis in hand

There are two main types of hand arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear on the joints over time, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes joint inflammation and damage.

Several factors can increase the risk of developing hand arthritis, such as genetics, age, gender, and previous joint injuries. Additionally, certain occupations that involve repetitive hand movements or heavy lifting may also contribute to the development of hand arthritis.

Symptoms of Hand Arthritis

Hand arthritis typically manifests itself with symptoms that can range from mild to severe, often affecting the joints of the fingers and thumb. The most common symptoms of hand arthritis include:

  • Joint pain and tenderness that increases with movement
  • Swelling or inflammation, causing stiffness and a decreased range of motion
  • A sensation of grinding, clicking, or cracking when moving the affected joints
  • A feeling of weakness or instability in the hand
  • Bumps or nodules around the affected joints
  • Joint deformity or malalignment, particularly in advanced cases of arthritis

It is important to note that the symptoms of hand arthritis can vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. Some individuals may experience symptoms in only one or a few joints, while others may have a more widespread condition that affects multiple joints across both hands.

Diagnosis of Hand Arthritis

When diagnosing hand arthritis, your doctor will typically begin with a physical examination of your hands and a review of your medical history. They will also ask you questions about your symptoms, such as when they started and how severe they are. Based on this initial evaluation, your doctor may order imaging tests like X-rays or MRIs to get a closer look at the affected joints.

Diagnostic tests for hand arthritis Description
X-rays These images can show changes in the bones and cartilage of your hands, including joint space narrowing and the formation of bone spurs.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) An MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed pictures of the internal structures of your hands, including bones, ligaments, tendons, and other soft tissues. This test can help detect early signs of arthritis and assess the extent of joint damage.
Blood tests Although there is no specific blood test that can diagnose hand arthritis, certain tests can help rule out other conditions that may cause similar symptoms, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.

If tests confirm the presence of hand arthritis, your doctor will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan based on your individual needs and preferences.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Hand Arthritis

If you have hand arthritis, you don’t necessarily need to undergo surgery to find relief. There are several non-surgical treatment options available.


Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or topical pain relievers like lidocaine patches. For more severe cases, doctors may prescribe stronger pain relievers or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

Physical Therapy

Working with a physical therapist can help you explore exercises and stretches to improve your range of motion and strengthen your hand muscles. Strengthening your hand can help you manage some of the symptoms of arthritis.

Hand Exercises

Certain exercises can help improve the flexibility of your hands and fingers. Hand-gripping exercises, for instance, are easy to incorporate into your everyday routine and can help strengthen the muscles in your hands.


Orthotics, such as splints, can support your hand and reduce pain or discomfort. You can also purchase specially designed gloves that provide added joint support.

Lifestyle Modifications

Simple lifestyle changes like using ergonomic tools or adjusting your posture can help protect your joints and reduce symptoms of arthritis. Weight management, exercise, and a healthy diet can also help.

Surgical Options for Hand Arthritis

If non-surgical treatments fail to provide adequate relief for hand arthritis, surgery may be necessary. There are several surgical options available, each with its own benefits and considerations.

Joint Fusion

Joint fusion involves fusing two or more bones together to prevent movement in a painful joint. This procedure can be effective in reducing pain and stabilizing the joint, but it also results in loss of motion and flexibility.

Joint Replacement

Joint replacement involves removing the damaged joint and replacing it with an artificial joint. This procedure can provide significant pain relief and improved hand function. However, it also carries a risk of complications such as infection, nerve damage, and implant failure.


Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses a small camera and instruments to visualize and treat joint problems. It can be used to remove damaged tissue, smooth out rough surfaces, and reduce inflammation. Arthroscopy is typically a less invasive option than joint fusion or joint replacement, with a faster recovery time.

Your doctor can help determine the best surgical option for your specific case based on factors such as the severity and location of arthritis, your age, and overall health. They can also discuss the potential risks and benefits of each procedure.

Managing Hand Arthritis Pain

One of the most challenging aspects of dealing with hand arthritis is managing the pain associated with the condition. Here are some tips and strategies that can help you manage and reduce hand arthritis pain:

  1. Apply heat or cold therapy: Applying heat or cold to affected joints can help ease pain and reduce inflammation. Try using a warm towel, heating pad, or hot water bottle for heat therapy, or a cold pack or bag of frozen vegetables for cold therapy.
  2. Use topical creams or ointments: Over-the-counter topical creams or ointments containing capsaicin or menthol can help to relieve pain and stiffness in the affected joints. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully.
  3. Try complementary therapies: Some people find relief from hand arthritis pain by trying alternative or complementary therapies like acupuncture, massage, or chiropractic care. Talk to your doctor before trying any new therapies.
  4. Take pain medication: Your doctor may recommend pain medication to help manage hand arthritis pain. Options may include acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or prescription pain relievers.
  5. Practice relaxation techniques: Meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga can help to reduce stress, which can exacerbate hand arthritis pain. These techniques can also help to promote relaxation and improve overall well-being.
  6. Consider occupational therapy: An occupational therapist can provide you with strategies and tools to help you manage hand arthritis pain and improve function. They can also help you modify your daily activities to reduce pain and stiffness.
  7. Use assistive devices: Assistive devices like splints, braces, or adaptive utensils can help to reduce strain on your hands and make daily activities easier and less painful. Talk to your doctor or occupational therapist about recommended devices.
  8. Stay active: Gentle exercise and stretching can help to reduce hand arthritis pain and improve range of motion. Try low-impact exercises like swimming, biking, or yoga, and be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen.

Remember, managing hand arthritis pain is an ongoing process, and what works for one person may not work for another. Talk to your doctor about what strategies might work best for you, and be sure to follow any recommended treatment plans closely.

Hand Arthritis Home Remedies

how treat arthritis in hand

In addition to medical treatments, there are several home remedies and natural approaches that can help manage hand arthritis. These remedies can complement your medical treatment and provide additional relief. However, before trying any new treatment, it’s essential to discuss it with your doctor.

Herbal Supplements

Some herbs are considered to have anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce joint pain and inflammation. Ginger, turmeric, and Boswellia are some of the herbs that have been used traditionally to treat arthritis. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that herbal supplements can interact with other medications, and their safety and effectiveness are not always scientifically proven.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that can be used topically or inhaled. Some essential oils, such as peppermint and eucalyptus, are believed to have pain-relieving properties and can be applied topically to the affected joint. Always dilute essential oils before using them topically, and do not ingest them.

Lifestyle Changes

Making some simple changes to your daily routine can also help manage hand arthritis. For example, maintaining a healthy weight can reduce stress on your joints, and a balanced diet can provide essential nutrients that support joint health. Additionally, avoiding repetitive hand movements and taking frequent breaks during activities that strain your hands can reduce joint pain and stiffness.

Hot and Cold Therapy

Applying heat or cold to the affected joint can help reduce pain and inflammation. For example, a warm towel or heating pad can be applied to the affected hand, or a cold compress can be used to reduce swelling. Always be careful not to apply extreme temperatures that might damage your skin.


Acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into specific points of the body to promote healing. Some studies suggest that acupuncture may be effective in reducing pain and improving joint function in people with hand arthritis. However, more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness.

Home remedies and natural approaches can be a useful addition to your hand arthritis treatment plan. However, they are not intended to replace medical treatment. Always discuss any new treatment with your doctor to ensure it’s safe and effective for your specific situation.

Hand Exercises for Arthritis Relief

Regular exercise can help alleviate arthritis symptoms and improve hand function. Here are some hand exercises you can do at home:

  1. Finger lift: Place your hand on a flat surface and lift each finger off the surface one at a time, holding for a few seconds before lowering it back down.
  2. Finger spread: Starting with your fingers together, spread them apart as far as you can, hold for five seconds, then bring them back together.
  3. Finger curl: Starting with your fingers straight, curl them inwards towards your palm, hold for five seconds, then straighten them back out.
  4. Grip strengthener: Use a grip strengthener or rubber band to squeeze the fingers and thumb together, holding for five seconds before releasing.
  5. Wrist stretch: Hold your injured arm out in front of you with your palm down. Use your other hand to gently pull your fingers back toward your wrist until you feel a stretch. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat three to four times.

Remember to start with a few repetitions of each exercise and gradually increase as your hand gets stronger. Stop if you feel pain or discomfort, and consult with your doctor or physical therapist before starting any new exercise regimen.


Arthritis in the hand is a common condition that can cause pain and limit hand function. However, with the right approach, relief is achievable. It is important to seek professional medical advice for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

In this article, we have explored various non-surgical and surgical treatment options, as well as home remedies, hand exercises, and pain management strategies. By adopting a holistic approach and being proactive in managing hand arthritis, individuals can improve their quality of life and maintain their independence.

how treat arthritis in hand

Remember to prioritize self-care, listen to your body, and be patient with the recovery process. With consistent effort and the right support, hand arthritis does not have to hold you back.


Q: How can I effectively treat arthritis in my hand?

A: There are several tips and solutions that can help with treating arthritis in the hand. It is important to seek professional medical advice and consider non-surgical treatments, such as medications, physical therapy, hand exercises, orthotics, and lifestyle modifications. In some cases, surgical options like joint fusion, joint replacement, or arthroscopy may be recommended. It is essential to work with a healthcare professional to find the best approach for your specific situation.

Q: What are the types and causes of hand arthritis?

A: Hand arthritis can be categorized into different types, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. The causes of hand arthritis can vary, but common factors include age, genetics, previous hand injuries, and inflammatory conditions.

Q: What are the symptoms of hand arthritis?

A: Symptoms of hand arthritis may include joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and limited range of motion. Some individuals may also experience difficulty gripping objects or performing daily tasks.

Q: How is hand arthritis diagnosed?

A: Hand arthritis is typically diagnosed through physical examinations, medical history review, and imaging tests such as X-rays or MRIs. A healthcare professional will evaluate your symptoms and medical history to determine the appropriate diagnostic approach.

Q: What non-surgical treatments are available for hand arthritis?

A: Non-surgical treatment options for hand arthritis include medications to manage pain and inflammation, physical therapy to improve hand strength and flexibility, hand exercises to alleviate symptoms, orthotic devices to support and protect the hand, and lifestyle modifications such as weight management and joint protection techniques.

Q: What surgical options are there for hand arthritis?

A: Surgical interventions for hand arthritis may include joint fusion, joint replacement, and arthroscopy. These procedures aim to relieve pain, improve hand function, and restore joint integrity. The specific surgical option recommended will depend on the severity and location of the arthritis.

Q: How can I manage hand arthritis pain?

A: Managing hand arthritis pain can involve various strategies, such as using heat or cold therapy, applying topical creams or ointments for pain relief, trying complementary therapies like acupuncture, and practicing relaxation techniques to reduce stress and tension in the hands.

Q: Are there any home remedies for hand arthritis?

A: While home remedies cannot cure hand arthritis, they can complement medical treatment. Some home remedies include using herbal supplements, trying essential oils for pain relief, incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet, and making lifestyle changes like improving ergonomics and avoiding repetitive hand movements.

Q: What are some hand exercises for arthritis relief?

A: Hand exercises specifically designed for arthritis relief can help improve hand strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Some examples include finger bends, hand squeezes, wrist stretches, and thumb rotations. It is important to perform these exercises gently and consult with a healthcare professional for guidance.

Jillian Hunt is a strong and inspiring individual who has been living with arthritis for over a decade. Despite the challenges she faces, she’s determined to find ways to manage her condition and improve her quality of life. She’s also an advocate for others who face similar challenges, sharing her insights on various forums.

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Arthritis Treatment Lab is a blog dedicated to providing information and resources on various treatment options for arthritis. From traditional approaches such as medication and physical therapy, to alternative therapies like acupuncture and herbal remedies, we strive to educate and empower individuals who are living with this condition. Our articles cover the latest research findings, practical tips for managing symptoms, and personal stories from people who have successfully overcome arthritis. Whether you are newly diagnosed or a long-time sufferer, Arthritis Treatment Lab is here to support you on your journey towards better health.