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Archive for the ‘Arthritis of the Hand’ Category

Thumb Arthritis

January 7, 2014

basal joint

The type of arthritis that is most likely going to affect your hand is thumb arthritis.  Why?  Because you use your thumbs more than any other finger.  Thumb arthritis is also called basal joint arthritis or CMC arthritis.  Thumb arthritis happens when the cartilage that cushions the bones around your thumb wears away.  This joint is called the carpometacarpal joint.

Pain and swelling in the hands are common symptoms.  Also decreased hand strength and a decreased range of motion will make it hard to perform activities of daily living like opening a faucet or turning a doorknob.

Steroids and surgery are options for advanced cases of thumb arthritis, while a thumb splint or a CMC Thumb Brace are recommended for milder cases.

Don N Doffer

December 2, 2013
Compression Stocking Applicator

Compression Stocking Applicator


We get a lot of questions about the compression stocking applicator.  Yes, it works.  It works real well.  This device is filled with soapy water and makes donning and doffing compression stockings real easy.

Arthritic fingers with poor dexterity prohibit many people from wearing their medically necessary compression stockings and hosiery.  The Don N Doffer is a compression stocking applicator that helps putting stockings on and taking them off.

This is a great device for care givers who have to apply stockings to patients or for patients who have to apply the stockings themselves.

For more information and videos about this compression stocking applicator, click this link.

Compression Stocking Applicator

Compression Stocking Applicator

Do you wear compression stockings?  Are they hard for you to put on and take off?  Then it is time to consider the Compression Stocking Applicator.  This device allows for the easy application of compression stockings.

Many people with arthritic fingers decide not to wear their medically necessary compression stockings because it hurts for them to put on (don) and take off (doff) their compression hosiery.

Heritage Medical Equipment carries the Compression Stocking Applicator for $56.95. Click here to watch videos, and learn more about the Compression Stocking Applicator.


Knuckle cracking may not lead to osteoarthritis.  But other noises may reflect injury.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always heard that cracking your knuckles was bad for you.  My mother told me I would get arthritis if I didn’t stop.  But recent research published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found no connection between knuckle cracking and ostoearthritis.  Throughout normal daily activities, gas bubbles build up in joint spaces.  When these bubbles burst, it produces the popping sound of the cracking knuckles.  The gasses dissapate without damaging the cartilage in the joint space, and so do not contribute to arthritis.

Not all joint noises are harmless.  Creaking and grinding noises, often in the knee, are called “crepitus”.  These noises can be indicative of damaged or inflamed cartilage.  Crepitus can be distinguished from joint cracking in two very important ways:  crepitus is nearly always associated with pain, and unlike joint cracking, produces the sound or grinding feeling on nearly every motion.

Knee pain is your body’s way of telling you that there is a problem.  So listen to your body, but worry more about how it feels than how it sounds.  If you have any doubts about your health, do not hesitate to contact your doctor and seek treatment.

CMC Arthritis Brace


This is a unique thumb brace specifically designed for thumb arthritis.  It positions the thumb to relieve the joint pain caused by the osteoarthritis.  It is light, low-profile, hygienic, and easy to put on and take off.  There aren’t any laces or straps.

A thumb brace like this can help relieve pain, increase function and quite possibly reduce the amount of pain killers a patient needs to take.  This is an inexpensive treatment option for basal joint or CMC arthritis.

CMC Arthritis

July 3, 2012

Typing on your laptop.  Opening a pouch of coffee.  Filling in the crossword.  Easy activities of daily living can become painful for hands with CMC arthritis.

Hand arthritis is the second most common form of arthritis that affects Americans.  It is more prevalent in women than men.  Osteoarthritis at the base of the thumb  (Carpometacarpal or CMC Arthritis) is often found in people with jobs that incorporate repetitive pulling, pushing, lifting or gripping.

This is a condition that generally affects older patients.  Treatments can include steroid injections, drugs, a cmc arthritis thumb brace, and a change in lifestyle.  A thumb brace for CMC Arthritis needs to apply pressure at the base of the thumb.


Heberden’s Nodes

March 31, 2012

Osteoarthritis symptoms of the hand can include difficulty bending and flexing your fingers, joint pain, and morning stiffness. Along with joint swelling and crepitus, common with finger arthritis, Heberden’s nodes can also appear.

Heberden’s nodes are growths of bone on the distal interphalangeal joints (DIPs).  These bumps can be a clear indication of  hand osteoarthritis.

Dr. William Heberden (1710 – 1801) was an english doctor who first described these bumps:

“What are those little hard knobs, about the size of a small pea, which are frequently seen upon the fingers, particularly a little below the top near the joint? They have no connection with the gout, being found in persons who never had it: they con- tinue for life: and being hardly ever attended with pain, or disposed to become sore, are rather un- sightly than inconvenient, though they must be some little hindrance to the free use of the fingers.”

Dr. Heberden was ahead of his time.  He didn’t believe in blood-letting, sweating, and purging – all common treatment options during that day and age.  He was known as the “Father of Observation”.

An ice pack or finger splint can help.


Bouchard’s Nodes

March 29, 2012


Bouchard’s nodes are often associated with osteoarthritis.  These bony prominences appear as bumps in the middle finger joints.  These knuckles are also called the proximal interphalangeal joints, or PIPs.

These bumps may hurt, or they may not.  However Bouchard’s nodes most always affect how fingers flex and extend.  Some researchers believe these bumps are strongly hereditary and that they are caused by osteophytes.

Cold therapy, finger splints, anti inflammatory medication, and hand therapy are all treatment options for finger arthritis.

Charles-Joseph Bouchard (1837 – 1915) was a french doctor who studied arthritis.


Finger Arthritis

March 27, 2012


Which finger joints are most likely to be effected by osteoarthritis?

The mid-finger (PIP – proximal interphalangeal joint) and fingertip (DIP – distal interphalangeal joints) knuckles are most likely to suffer.  These joints can become swollen, stiff, and enlarged.  This condition is usually the result of years of wear-and tear.

Joint health supplements, anti-inflammatory medications, therapy, cortisone injections, cold therapy and finger splints can all be all used to treat osteoarthritis of the finger.


We get asked all the time if cracking knuckles leads to finger arthritis.  The simple answer is “no” because there isn’t much research on the subject.  But just because science hasn’t found a direct link between knuckle cracking and arthritis doesn’t mean cracking knuckles is healthy for your fingers.  The habit can lead to other hand-related problems and there is no benefit.

The habit usually stems from the sound.  Some people find a sense of satisfaction in hearing their knuckles pop.  The “pop” comes when the fingers are stretched apart.  What happens is that the space within the finger joint widens as the fingers are stretched.  Gas bubbles can be introduced within the synovial fluid (the lubricant that protects your finger joints) as a result of this stretching.  Those bubbles popping are the satisfying sound that people hear when they over-stretch their fingers.

The medical director of the Providence Arthritis Center at Providence Portland Medical Center, Peter Bonafede, M.D. conducted some research on the subject of knuckle cracking.  Dr. Bonafede’s research points at one study that was conducted in 1990.  Hand function was studied in 200 people older than 45.  There were 74 habitual knuckle crackers in the group.  The knuckle crackers were more likely to have swollen hands, and reduced hand strength but they were not more likely to have arthritis.

But even though cracking your knuckles may not lead to cmc arthritis, it is still gross.