Arthritis of the Hand and Fingers

How it Happens

Arthritis commonly occurs in the hand, wrist and fingers as a result of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). Because we use our hands so much on a daily basis throughout our lives, arthritis often becomes a problem as we age. Nearly 2 million Americans suffer from arthritis that limits their ability to perform simple tasks such as grasping small objects, writing or typing, lifting and carrying moderately heavy objects, and gripping or twisting items such as small jars.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Pain in some or all of the joints of the wrist, fingers and thumbs
  • Numbness in fingers
  • Swelling, warmth or redness in the fingers
  • Bony “knobs” near the finger joints
  • Stiffness in the fingers, especially in the morning
  • Grinding in the joints
  • Small areas of fluid that appear as dents or ridges under the skin


A physician at Campbell Clinic will review your medical history, perform a visual examination of your hands and fingers, order X-ray images, and discuss the signs and symptoms you’ve experienced that have caused any limitations.

Treatment and Recovery 

Many patients suffering from hand or finger arthritis benefit from physical therapy. Campbell Clinic employs therapists who specialize in treating hand conditions. Range of motion exercises, such as slowly closing and opening your hand while stretching your fingers out, then slowly closing into a fist again, may help relieve some symptoms of arthritis in the hand or finger. It is important to maintain as much activity and range of motion with the hand as possible to limit the worsening of symptoms.

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