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Thumb - Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a collective term for various types of disorders. The most common are: psoriatic arthritis and... Read more »

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Rheumatoid Arthritis is a collective term for various types of disorders. The most common are: psoriatic arthritis and osteoarthritis. An infection or gout can also cause arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an auto-immune disease and affects the cells that normally lubricate and cover the joints. This is a systemic condition, meaning that multiple 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 deformation. The inflammation can spread to the tendons, causing them to stretch or rupture. 




Rheumatoid Arthritis is most common in the hand, wrist and the knuckles of the fingers. Swelling, stiffness and pain are symptoms that occur in all types of arthritis. When suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, some joints may be more swollen than others. There is often a sausage-shaped swelling of the thumb. Furthermore, the thumb can no longer be bent or stretched, a crackling sound can be heard, the thumb can change its position or a numb and tingling sensation can be felt in the fingers due to the swelling. The thumb can also be unstable, malformations can occur, and bending and stretching becomes less. You can no longer spontaneously move the thumb because the affected tendon can snap. If your doctor suspects that you have rheumatoid arthritis, a blood test or other tests may confirm that diagnosis.




Treatment is pretty much always done by the rheumatologist. This treatment is focused on functional recovery and pain relief. Anti-inflammatory medication such as cortisone injections and steroids can reduce inflammation, relieve pain and slow the increase down. Your doctor or rheumatologist can inform you about exercises, splints and heat or cold therapy such as a paraffin bath (warm wax). In addition, they inform you about methods and tools for you to use your hand correctly. Often rheumatism also affects the joints and tendons, if this happens you may have difficulty holding and grabbing things. In some cases, you can be helped surgically, by means of removing joint lumps or reducing the pressure on tendons by flattening or removing the rough bone along which the tendons run.  


Curing Rheumatoid Arthritis in the thumb


Unfortunately rheumatoid arthritis is not curable. For the best possible cure, the rheumatologist, hand surgeon, rehabilitation doctor, therapist and the patient work together. It is important to have the surgery at the right time, resulting in restored balance and maintainment of the joints as long as possible, before the development of more serious malformations occur. We, at Podobrace, can offer you a wide range of products to counter the aggravation of rheumatoid arthritis. For example the Medidu Thumb Support / Thumb Splint / Wrist Wrap and the Novamed Manu Thumb Support can help tremendously with rheumatoid arthritis conditions.

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