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Thumb - Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis in the thumb is not caused by an external injury. Rheumatoid arthritis is, in fact, an umbrella term for various types of diseases. Below, we give you more information on rheumatoid arthritis in the thumb and how it can best be treated. Read on below:

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How many forms of rheumatism are there?

Rheumatism is the collective name for as many as 100 different types of disorders. The most common are: psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. An infection or gout can also cause arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease which affects the cells that normally lubricate and cover the joints. This is a systemic disease. This means that several joints can be affected. The mucous membrane around the joint becomes inflamed, swells and damages the cartilage and bone. The swollen tissue can also stretch the surrounding ligaments, causing instability and deformity. The inflammation can also spread to the tendons, causing them to tear or stretch.


What are the symptoms of rheumatism in the thumb?

Rheumatoid arthritis of the hand most commonly affects the wrist and the knuckles of the fingers. Swelling, stiffness and pain are symptoms common to all forms of rheumatoid arthritis. With rheumatoid arthritis, some joints may be more swollen than others. Often, a sausage-shaped swelling of the thumb occurs. The thumb may no longer be able to be bent or stretched, there may be a crackling sound, a change in the thumb's position or a numbness and tingling in the fingers caused by the swelling. The thumb may also become unstable, deformed, have a loss of flexion or extension and be unable to move spontaneously due to the snapping of the affected tendon. If your doctor suspects that you have rheumatoid arthritis, a blood test or other tests may confirm the diagnosis.


What treatments are possible?

The treatment almost always takes place at the rheumatologist's office. This treatment aims at restoring function and relieving pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as cortisone injections and steroids can reduce inflammation, relieve pain and slow the progression of the disease. Your doctor or rheumatologist may refer you for information on exercises, splints and heat or cold therapy such as a paraffin bath (warm wax). They will also tell you how to use your hand in the best possible way. Often, rheumatism also affects the joints and tendons; if this happens, you may have difficulty holding things. In some cases, you can receive surgical help, such as removing joint lumps or reducing the pressure on tendons by flattening or removing the rough bone along which the tendon runs.


Can rheumatism in the thumb be cured?

Unfortunately, rheumatoid arthritis cannot be cured. For optimal care, the rheumatologist, hand surgeon, rehabilitation specialist, hand therapist and the patient work together. It is important that any surgery takes place at the right time, so that the balance is restored, and the joints are preserved for as long as possible before the development of more serious deformities. Podobrace also has various products to combat the aggravation of rheumatism. For example, we have various thumb braces in our range for this problem.

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