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Hand Arthritis in Ventura, CA

Dr. Pickart offers treatment for hand arthritis to the residents of Ventura, Camarillo, and the surrounding areas of California.

How Does Hand Arthritis Develop?

Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that affects the joints of the bones, thereby causing stiffness, swelling, and pain. When arthritis affects the wrists, people can find it difficult to do even simple daily tasks. Arthritis in the wrist can be caused by either rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or osteoarthritis (OA).

What Is Osteoarthritis?

When patients worry that they are suffering from arthritis in their hands, what they are usually concerned about is osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease.   OA occurs when there is aging and erosion of the cartilages at the ends of the bones.  Without cartilage, the bones rub against one another, which leads to joint stiffness, swelling, and pain.

How and Where Does Osteoarthritis Develop?

OA develops over decades, either from an old injury or from every day wear and tear.

The most common site of osteoarthritis is the base of the thumb. Twisting the lid off of a jar or turning a heavy door handle can be extremely painful.

OA also frequently affects the last knuckles of the fingers. Osteoarthritic bone spurs cause stiffness and a knobby appearance.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disorder that affects the immune system of the body. Unlike OA, the condition is not produced by wear and tear to the joints but is a disease that affects the joint lining, thereby causing swelling and pain and eventually, in some instances, erosion of the bones or joint deformity. RA attacks more than one joint, beginning with the smaller joints first.

The inflammatory disease is symmetrical and, therefore, often affects the joints on each side of the body, such as those in the hands and wrists. Because RA frequently attacks the ulnus and radius, or the two forearm bones, it can cause the tendons that are used to extend the fingers to tear. As a result, patients with RA often suffer from bent hands or wrists.

What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?

The precise cause for RA is unknown. Scientists, however, believe that a chemical or an environmental component may activate the condition in people who are genetically predisposed to the disease.

What Symptoms Are Produced by Osteoarthritis?

OA, when it affects the hands, is exhibited by joint swelling and pain, limited movement, and weakness. Typically, the joint fingers and knuckles are affected.

What Are the Symptoms Associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis?

RA presents the same symptomatology as OA, with sufferers often complaining about stiffness and swelling in the hand, particularly around the knuckles.

When Is Surgery Recommended for Hand Arthritis?

Osteoarthritis is usually treated without surgery.  Splints, activity limitations, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), and corticosteroid injections are ususally helpful.  Surgery is indicated when non-operative measures have failed.

What Surgical Option Is Available for Patients Who Suffer from Severe Arthritis in the Hand?

Arthroplasty is a common surgical option for patients who suffer from severe arthritis in the hand. The surgery replaces the small joints in the hand with artificial joints.

Arthrodesis is another option. This surgery fuses two bones together to obliterate the painful joint. While motion is lost, function is improved because pain is abated.

What Is Involved in the Recovery Process?

Usually, recovery takes one or two months, depending upon the location and type of surgery.  Hand therapy is often advised to aid in recovery.  Eventually, the patient will experience more freedom of movement and can undertake tasks that were impossible before undergoing the procedure.

How Much Does Treatment of Hand Arthritis Cost in Ventura?

Usually, the surgical and non-surgical treatments for hand arthritis are covered by your insurance company.  Pickart Plastic Surgery currently works with most insurance carriers to ensure that patients can receive high quality treatment. Dr. Pickart also offers CareCredit® and Capital One® to provide financing options for patients.

Dr. Pickart specializes in hand surgery; visit our other hand surgery pages including Dupuytren’s Contracture, trigger finger, and ganglion cysts.

If you are a resident of Ventura, Camarillo, or the surrounding areas in California and are considering cosmetic or reconstructive surgery, call Pickart Plastic Surgery at (805) 232-5688. Our talented staff members can answer all your questions and also schedule your consultation.

Written by Pickart Plastic Surgery August 13, 2013