Harvard Men's Health Watch

Relief for hand arthritis

There's more to optimizing care than pain medication. See a hand therapist to obtain a personalized strategy.

Wear-and-tear osteoarthritis is very common in the knees and hips, but it strikes the hands, too. When the cushioning cartilage within the finger joints begins to break down, leading to pain and inflammation, all the usual remedies apply, such as appropriate use of medication.

But to really handle the situation, consider seeing a hand therapist, who can help you reduce causes of pain and remain functional. "Hand therapists play an important role in instructing patients in how to continue to use their hands in activities of daily living," says Dr. Barry Simmons, associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School and co-editor of the Harvard Special Health Report Hands: Strategies for Strong, Pain-free Hands.

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