Thumb And Hand Arthritis
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a common condition that occurs when the cartilage in joints wears away. Any joint in the body can be affected. Arthritis can be caused by an injury, years of wear and tear, or certain medical conditions that cause inflammation.
In the hand and upper extremity, the common locations are:
- The base of the thumb
- Inside the wrist
- Small joints in the fingers
What are the symptoms of a hand or wrist arthritis?
The most common symptom is pain with motion of that joint. However, not every patient experiences pain. With progression of the arthritis, there can be decreased range of motion and deformity of the joint. You may also have sensations of grinding or clicking with motion of the thumb or hand.
Do all patients with arthritis require surgery?
Many patients with arthritis of the upper extremity can be treated without surgery. Conservative treatment consists of splinting, limitation of movement of the joint, and steroid injections to decrease pain. If the pain persists, you may need surgical intervention. There are several different types of procedures depending on the severity and joint involved. This can range from joint replacement to fusion of the two bones.
To determine whether your arthritis requires surgery, Dr. Weinheimer performs a thorough physical exam. He also orders x-rays to look at the bones and joint. If Dr. Weinheimer believes surgery is necessary for you, he explains why you need the procedure and how it can help your wrist injury heal.
What are the risks?
Arthritis surgery carries risks like most other surgical procedures, including:
- Allergic reaction to anesthesia
- Excessive bleeding
- Postoperative pain
- Infection at the surgical site
- Damage to surrounding tissues
In some cases, surgery may not be successful, and you may continue experiencing symptoms even after your recovery period. However, as an experienced hand and upper extremity surgeon, Dr. Weinheimer knows how to perform these procedures as safely and effectively as possible. When considering the risks, keep in mind that failing to have a wrist injury repaired may leave you with chronic pain and disability.
How fast do patients recover from arthritis surgery?
Most patients will go home the day of surgery. Most patients can resume their normal activities within six to twelve weeks. Before scheduling your surgery, Dr. Weinheimer explains your expected recovery time, as well as the instructions you must follow while you heal. Following all these instructions carefully ensures that you recover from the procedure as quickly as possible.