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How to keep your hands, fingers and wrists strong

We know how important our hands are, but do we look after them as much as other joints in our body?

The hand and wrist are made up of several small bones, with each finger containing three joints and your thumb containing two.

Arthritis of the hand can be particularly painful and that's why it is important to look after them.

Maintaining strong and healthy bones can help to reduce the onset of conditions such as arthritis later on in life by strengthening muscles and protecting our joints.

Arthritis of the hands

You can get arthritis in any joint and it commonly affects the wrists and fingers.
There are different types of arthritis such as:

Osteoarthritis where the cartilidge that cushions the joint wears over time and causes pain and inflammation.

Rheumatoid arthritis where your immune system attacks the healthy cells in the joint which can cause damage as well as pain and inflammation.

Symptoms of arthritis include:

- Pain
- Stiffness
- Swelling
- Difficulty moving your joint
- An interference with your daily life such as doing up buttons and opening jars

Can I prevent arthritis?

You can follow various lifestyle factors to maintain healthy joints to keep them strong and protected, such as:

- Not smoking
- Maintaining a health diet containing lots of calcium, vitamin D, fresh vegetables and fruit
- Taking regular breaks form activities that use your fingers a lot such as typing and writing
- Taking regular breaks when doing repetitive activities involving your wrist such as manual work
- Doing regular hand and wrist exercises to build and maintain muscle, tendon and ligament strength. You can view some exercises here

Treatment for arthritis

Surgery for arthritis can depend on which joint is affected (thumb, wrist or finger). Keyhole surgery (arthroscopy) can help ‘wash out’ joints and also help diagnose the severity of the arthritis.

Procedures can also be targeted at removing the pain nerves supplying a joint.
In severe cases, either the joint is prevented from moving (fused) or the joint can be replaced.


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