Arthritis is a condition characterized by swelling, pain and stiffness in the affected joint. It is reported that this condition affects millions of individuals all over the world. Arthritis is considered one of the second leading causes of disability at work and disrupts the daily activities of millions of individuals. Take note that there are different forms of arthritis that affects the fingers and the cause tends to vary from one individual to another.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects the finger joints. Even though the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is still unknown, the immune system plays a vital role by attacking the tissues of the joints.
Just like with other forms of arthritis, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include pain, swelling and stiffness. The continuing inflammation can trigger the degeneration of the finger joints. This form of arthritis is hard to diagnose since there are no tests for detection and the symptoms vary from one individual to another.
Medications can help manage the inflammation, minimize the pain and help individuals maintain an active lifestyle. Despite the benefits offered by medications in managing this type of arthritis, those who have rheumatoid arthritis often have periods of severe swelling, pain and stiffness and periods of remission where the symptoms subside and vanish completely. Nevertheless, severe cases may last for years or for life.
Osteoarthritis is one of the prevalent forms of arthritis that affects the fingers. This form is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage that lines the joints between the bones. The lack of cushioning provided by the cartilage will cause the bones to rub against each other, thus resulting to swelling, pain and stiffness.
In case osteoarthritis affects one joint in the finger, it can also cause the other joints to become swollen, painful and stiff. Over the long run, the pain can lessen which leaves behind hard bony knobs on the finger joints.
When it comes to infectious arthritis, the finger joints are affected and mostly due to an infection. In most cases, the infectious agent is a bacterium but a virus or fungus can also cause this type of arthritis. The infectious agent travels via the bloodstream and infects the joint, resulting to swelling, pain and stiffness.
This form of arthritis is often linked with fever due to the infection. A diagnosis is determined by analysis of a sample of the joint fluid. The doctor will administer the suitable antibiotic to manage the infection, often intravenously initially to ensure that the affected joints are reached. In case there is excess infectious fluid in the finger joint, the doctor may drain out the fluid to minimize swelling as well as the stiffness and pain.
Depending on the type of arthritis that affects the fingers, consulting a doctor is vital for proper assessment as well as start an appropriate treatment plan to manage the symptoms.