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General Hands Treatments

Scar Removal & Treatment: How Dr. Arora Minimizes the Appearance of Hand Scars

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Most patients ask us about any potential scarring on the hands or wrists prior to undergoing surgery, and their concerns are understandable. The truth is that most hand surgeries may result in some minor scarring. In most cases, however, we find that dramatically better than having to live with the pain, discomfort, and appearance of the initial condition, and most patients definitely agree.

The good news is that most hand scars after surgery are very minor, almost unnoticeable. Even when they are slightly more pronounced, our hand doctor offers scar removal and treatment options that can minimize their appearance.

Dr. Arora can also minimize scars due to injury or minor burns, as well as some skin imperfections that were present at birth.

Why Scars Form

Most of us know what scars are and likely have one or more. Before we get into how scars are treated, however, let us talk about why scars form in the first place. We think it’s rather fascinating, actually, and it just goes to show how smart our bodies really are!

Scars are essentially the body’s natural Band-Aid or stitches. They form as a part of the healing process after your skin has been cut, burned, scratched, or otherwise injured. The skin repairs itself by growing new tissue in gaps, and that tissue pulls the wound together. Without the body’s natural ability to grow this new tissue to “stitch” the skin back together, your body would be at risk of infection, expansion of the injury, permanent damage, or worse.

Scar Removal & Treatment Options at Arora Hand Surgery

The type and extent of a scar will determine the best scar removal and treatment options, especially in the case of burns. If a scar is associated with damage to tissues beneath the skin, including the nerves and tendons, other treatment options may be necessary. If the scar is superficial, meaning it’s only on the surface of the skin, treatment can be effective.

Several different procedures are commonly used to minimize the appearance of scars.

Scar Massage or Vibration

Massaging the area with petroleum jelly, cocoa butter, or hand lotion can loosen the skin. The area should be massaged in the direction of the scar for 10 minutes twice a day. After about 3 months, you should start to see some results.

Exercises

We know. … Suggesting controlled exercise programs for scars seems counterintuitive. You’re trying to reduce the scars, after all, not beef them up or give them more endurance!

But think of it as telling your body, “Hey, you don’t have to panic and build up all this extra tissue. I’m taking care of it in a different way. See what I’m doing to help you?”

And of course, we’re not talking about weightlifting or cardio. The exercises are based on stimulating nearby joints and tendons to keep them gliding smoothly under the skin.

Pressure Therapy

Pressure therapy is typically used right after surgery or after a burn. Applying a pressure garment over dressings to a wound while it’s healing can minimize the appearance of scars, or at least help keep them flatter.

Silicone Gel

Placing a thin layer of silicone gel over the area serves as a bandage, and the gel can remain on the hands throughout the day. If Dr. Arora recommends this scar treatment remedy for you, the gel should be used for at least 12 hours per day for a minimum of three months.

Injections or Surgery

Burn scars or other injuries may require surgical treatment. (Serious, high-degree burns may need to be treated at specialized burn centers, such as those at the University of Michigan and the Detroit Medical Center’s Detroit Receiving Hospital.)

Treatment options include:

1. Collagen injections/fillers

Some skin care professionals can inject collagen into the area to create a smoother appearance.

2. Scar revision surgery

Scar revision surgery attempts to minimize a scar to make it less visible as well as blend in with the surrounding skin.

3. Skin grafts

Natural skin or a synthetic material can be used to fill skin at the area, or the surgeon would remove the scar and then replace the skin with the synthetic material.

4. Excision

Scars are cut out and removed during a surgical procedure, although this may leave a smaller scar in this place.

5. Laser surgery

Unlike excisions, laser surgery does not involve cutting out the scar. Instead, a fractional laser light is used to break down scar tissue and trigger healthy new tissue to form at the site.

6. Dermabrasion

Offered by some dermatologists and plastic surgeons, dermabrasion is an exfoliating technique that uses a rotating instrument to remove the outer layers of skin.

Not all these injections or surgeries are available through Arora Hand Surgery, although we can recommend other skin care professionals who may be able to assist you. These techniques are also not ideal for every patient; it depends on the types of scars you have and how deep they are, as well as a combination of your preferences and Dr. Arora’s recommendations. Talk with Dr. Arora, a dermatologist, or a plastic surgeon to see if any of these options are suitable for you.

If you want to know more about wrist and hand scar removal and treatment options, make an appointment to see the hand specialist at his West Bloomfield, Warren, Macomb Township, or Howell office.

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Fingers General

First Aid Tip: How to Wrap a Broken Knuckle

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Some people let a broken knuckle heal on its own, but we urge you not to do that.

Getting treatment as soon as possible for a knuckle injury is essential to proper recovery. If you don’t get a broken knuckle treated professionally, your finger may never look or function the same as it did prior to the injury.

For that reason, knowing how to wrap a broken knuckle until you can get in to see a doctor can help the bone set properly, reduce the possibility of further injury, and minimize pain.

How to Wrap a Broken Knuckle

Before wrapping a broken knuckle, examine the injured area to make sure the finger is likely broken, yet not bleeding, burned, or extremely swollen. All of these would require additional or other forms of first aid treatment, including possibly a visit to the emergency room.

Signs of a broken knuckle include:

  • Pain that is typically instant and severe, although you still may be able to bend the knuckle
  • Increased pain when you try to move the finger
  • Swelling, which typically begins about 10 minutes after the initial injury, of the affected finger as well as possibly other fingers, the palm, or the back of the hand
  • Inability to move your hand or affected fingers
  • Bruising that may be visible right away
  • Numbness as swelling increases
  • Finger compression
  • Difficulty making a fist
  • A sunken knuckle, which is the clearest sign of a broken knuckle

A common do-it-yourself first aid treatment in this case is to “buddy wrap” the affected finger with the one beside it.

Cut enough tape to wrap around both fingers, and place a piece of tape between the first and second joints and another piece between the second and third joints. Do not place the tape on the knuckles, but try to use pieces of medical tape that are wide enough to cover significant areas between the joints.

The tape should be firmly secured but not so tight that it causes the fingers to swell or become numb.

Alternatively, you can purchase a finger splint from a local pharmacy or other general retailer.

Make an Appointment with a Hand Doctor Afterward

The above recommendations regarding how to wrap a broken knuckle are intended for general first aid. Our blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.

After first aid treatment, it’s important to see Dr. Arora in West Bloomfield, Howell, Warren, or Macomb Township for proper treatment of the broken knuckle. Make an appointment to see the hand specialist through our website or by calling our office.

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General Uncategorized

Looking for a Hand Surgeon in Michigan? Here are a Few Tips that May Help

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As you are looking for a hand surgeon in Michigan, you may find yourself overwhelmed with questions. Knowing what to look for is the first step toward finding the best hand specialist in Michigan for you.

Following are a few factors you should look into as you are researching your options.

6 Factors to Consider When Searching for the Best Hand Surgeon in Michigan for You

  1. Review your options online.

You can find many hand doctors near you by completing a simple online search, but it’s important to then narrow down your options. Review each physician’s website as well as the reviews on sites like Facebook, Google, and Yelp.

  1. Ask for word-of-mouth referrals.

As noted by Invesp, 88% of consumers placed the highest level of trust in word-of-mouth recommendations from people they know. And there’s a reason for that. Word-of-mouth is genuine and real, and there’s no need to wonder about the integrity of the individuals who are providing the input. For that reason, one of the best ways to find the best hand surgeon in Michigan to treat your particular concern is to ask people you trust about doctors they may have seen in the past.

  1. Make sure the hand specialist can address your specific concerns.

As you are reviewing a physician’s website, make sure the doctor has experience in treating what you believe is your particular condition. For instance, if you are experiencing pain in your wrists and suspect it might be carpal tunnel syndrome, look for a hand surgeon in Michigan who has expertise in carpal tunnel syndrome treatment.

  1. Find a hand doctor who accepts your insurance.

Take some time to contact each potential hand doctor’s office and/or your insurance provider to find a doctor who accepts your insurance. If you need a referral to see a hand specialist, consider your primary care physician’s suggestions. Your primary care provider likely has plenty of knowledge regarding nearby hand surgeons’ expertise and patient care standards.

  1. Look for a hand specialist near you in southeast Michigan.

While distance is far from the most important factor in finding the best hand surgeon in Michigan for you, it’s still important. If you expect that you will need surgery, you will likely need someone to drive you to and from your appointment. You may have follow-up appointments as well. Most importantly, in some cases you will need physical therapy after your surgery, so finding a hand specialist near you is convenient.

  1. Research a specialist’s credentials to ensure he or she is qualified and experienced.

When you are trying to find a hand doctor, the physician’s level of experience matters. The more experience a physician has, the more likely he or she has identified what works and what doesn’t, and that means more optimal treatment for your hand, wrist, or elbow condition.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Arora

Once you have completed your search for the best hand surgeons in Michigan for you, we have no doubt that Dr. Avery Arora will appear at the top of your list. With offices in Oakland County, Macomb County, and Livingston County, Dr. Arora treats virtually any conditions of the hand, wrist, and elbow.

For diagnosis and treatment of your condition, schedule an appointment to see the doctor in Warren, West Bloomfield, Macomb Township, or Howell.

Categories
General

Charley Horse in Your Arm? How to Treat Muscle Cramps

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“Ooh! I got a charley horse!” your buddy exclaims as he jumps out of the pool, holds onto his arm, and starts to flail it around.

With a laugh, you say, “You’re funny. You can’t get a charley horse in your arm! Those are only in your legs.”

Not so! They’re most common in your legs for sure, but you definitely can get a charley horse in your arm, hand, or anywhere on your whole body while you’re at it.

The muscle cramp sensation is usually the same no matter where it is, and luckily it’s only temporary.

But when you have it, you want it gone, and fast. So what do you do? And how do you stop it from happening?

Well, we have a few tricks up our sleeves, but first, let us fill you in on what it is.

What Causes Muscle Cramps in Your Arms?

Most muscle cramps are harmless. Some of the day-to-day causes of muscle cramps include:

  • Overuse of a muscle, such as in the case of running, playing sports, or swimming
  • Dehydration, which depresses blood volume and creates less blood flow
  • Muscle strain
  • Holding your arm or leg in the same position for too long, such as when driving, watching a movie, or flying in an airplane

In some cases, muscle cramps may be caused by underlying conditions. These include:

  • More serious inadequate blood supply, caused by narrowing of the arteries
  • Nerve compression
  • Vitamin deficiency or use of certain medications

Treating a Charley Horse in Your Arm or Leg

The first thing most people do after getting a charley horse is panic. That reaction is not their fault. It’s almost instinctive. Your arm or leg buckles up, causing the rest of your body to react accordingly. It can seriously be painful sometimes, and may even be dangerous if you’re driving, swimming, or operating machinery.

Self-care and awareness can help you avoid muscle cramps. Following are several muscle cramp prevention tips that we recommend to our patients:

  • Make sure you’re hydrated, and not only in the summer or when you’re exercising. A charley horse can kick in at any moment.
  • Gently stretch your arm muscles before participating in strenuous or repetitive activity. Stretching will stimulate blood flow, which can help prevent muscle cramps. (Some fitness trainers recommend that you warm up your muscles a bit before you stretch so as not to shock those muscles. Do what makes you feel comfortable, as long as you do it safely.) Remember to stretch after the activity as well.
  • Get the necessary vitamins into your body. Talk with Dr. Arora and your primary care provider to determine which nutrients you may be lacking.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise routine.
  • To prevent nighttime muscle cramps, stretch before going to sleep and keep sheets and blankets loose around your legs if you’re concerned about leg cramps. If arm cramps are your primary concern, avoid sleeping on your hands or placing your arms over your head while you sleep.

Despite your best efforts, you may experience a charley horse in your arm or leg anyway, and your knee-jerk reaction is to stop it as soon as possible. If you do get a sudden charley horse, following are a few ways to treat it:

1. Gently stretch the muscle, but don’t over-exert yourself.

2. Gently massage the area.

3. If it’s a persistent muscle cramp, try applying a heating pad or warm towel.

4. For a toe or leg cramp, walk around carefully, but avoid straining the muscle or your other leg.

If you have muscle cramps in your hands or arms often and can’t relieve them through these remedies and prevention tips, make an appointment to see our hand doctor in Howell, Warren, Macomb Township, or West Bloomfield.

Categories
General Hands Uncategorized

Smoking & Your Hands: 16 Statistics, Factors, and Facts You Might Not Realize

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Even though cigarette smoking has greatly declined in recent years, nearly 40 million U.S. adults still smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. We don’t need to rehash all the dangers of smoking as it relates to your overall health, as we’re sure you have heard them time and time again. What the media might not talk about as much, however, is how smoking affects your hands.

Some of the effects of smoking on your hands are obvious, such as the scent and the stains. You almost couldn’t ignore those if you tried.  And then there are the effects you might certainly feel but not associate with smoking at all.

Consider the following facts, according to sources such as the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.

1. Studies show that smokers have decreased blood flow in the skin of their fingers as compared to non-smokers.

2. Smokers have increased vascular resistance, which means the vessels are tighter, most likely because smoking increases the amount of adrenaline in the body.

3. Scleroderma patients who smoke have a four times higher chance of having vascular problems in the fingers.

4. Skin wounds heal slower in fingers exposed to cigarette smoke and nicotine.

5. Smokers are twice as likely have wounds that will not heal.

6. Smokers are twice as likely to have wound infections.

7. Smokers are almost twice as likely to develop infections in the hands.

8. The skin of your hands may wrinkle and age prematurely. This is because the chemicals in cigarette smoke damage collagen and elastin, which are responsible for making the skin look supple, firm, and healthy.

9. Hand fractures may take longer to heal in smokers vs. non-smokers.

10. Smoking can lead to general tingling, numbness, and pain in your hands.

11. Smokers who have conditions such as diabetes may have even greater tingling, numbness, and pain in their hands.

12. The flame from a cigarette lighter may accidentally burn the tips of your fingers.

13. Congenital hand problems such as extra fingers or fused fingers are more common when the child’s mother smoked while pregnant.

14. Dupuytren’s contracture is more common in smokers.

15. Complex regional pain syndrome may be more likely in smokers.

16. Smoking is a risk factor for psoriasis.

In addition to all these possible effects on your hands, elbow pain may also be more common in smokers.

But here’s the good news: When you stop smoking, many of these effects can be reversed, minimized, or prevented. At the very least, quitting smoking may stop the progression of these effects on the hands.

If you do experience chronic hand pain for any reason, make an appointment to see Dr. Arora in Warren, Howell, Macomb Township, or West Bloomfield.

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General

Looking for a Hand Doctor in Warren? There’s a New Man in Town

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Are you looking for a hand doctor in Warren?

Although we’ve been in practice for many years, we’re new to this Macomb County community, so we thought we would tell you a little more about us and the services we offer.

Let’s start with the basics: the lowdown on our fearless leader. … OK, maybe we can’t dish it out here, but we’ll tell you when we see you.

We say that with nothing but respect, of course. We think he’s the best, and we bet you will as well. And, fortunately for us, he has a great sense of humor too.

Dr. Avery Arora: The Newest Hand Doctor in Warren, Michigan

Dr. Arora has been recognized as a top hand surgeon in Michigan year after year. Other medical professionals chose Dr. Arora as an HOUR Detroit Magazine “Top Doc” in 2013 and 2015 through 2020. And now, he has been recognized with the honor for 2021 as well.

So that makes seven consecutive years and counting, plus one. Yup, you’ll need two hands to keep track.

Dr. Arora has lived in Michigan since 2005. His wife is from Saginaw, and they have three children.

Dr. Arora has hospital privileges at top hospitals throughout the state, including Ascension Macomb-Oakland, located in Warren. He also has privileges at the following:

  • Ascension St. John
  • Ascension St. John Hospital Health Center at 23 Mile
  • Ascension St. John Hospital Health Center at 12 Mile
  • Ascension Providence, Southfield and Novi
  • Novi Surgery Center
  • Joseph Mercy Oakland
  • Waterford Surgical Center
  • DMC Huron Valley-Sinai

He obtained his doctoral degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and he has specialty training in the following areas:

  • Hand treatment and surgery
  • Wrist treatment and surgery
  • Elbow treatment and surgery

He is certified in Surgery of the Hand from the American Board of Surgery and is Board Certified in Surgery from the American Board of Surgery.

In other words, he can perform many types of surgeries, but treating the hands, wrists, and elbows is his favorite. If you have any issues from the tips of your fingers to your elbows, you’ll be in good hands here in our Warren office, located on Schoenherr Road between 12 Mile and I-696, as well as at our locations in Howell, West Bloomfield, and Macomb Township.

Dr. Avery Arora, a hand doctor in Macomb County, Michigan, is shown here with three members of his team.

Hand, Elbow & Wrist Treatment at Our Warren, Michigan Office

As a leading hand doctor in Warren, West Bloomfield, Howell, and Macomb Township, Dr. Arora treats a wide variety of conditions affecting the hand, wrist, and elbow.

Whether it’s a temporary finger sprain or a chronic condition that requires ongoing treatment, you can rely on Dr. Arora and the rest of the team to diagnose and treat your condition with compassion, integrity, and skill.

Some of the many conditions we treat include:

Contact us if you want to know more about our new office or any of our services.

Categories
General Hands

Claw Hand Deformity: Causes and Treatment Options

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A claw hand deformity can result in many physical and emotional challenges. Feeling insecure about the appearance of the hand, experiencing pain and stiffness, and being unable to complete certain everyday tasks can take their toll on the individuals.

Treatment for claw hand deformity may be possible if it is truly negatively affecting someone’s quality of life. In some cases, surgery for a claw hand may have more negatives than positives, so it’s something you should talk about with Dr. Arora. Make an appointment to speak with the hand doctor in Macomb, Howell, West Bloomfield, or Warren to better understand your options.

In the meantime, following are answers to a few questions you may have about claw hand deformity.

What is a Claw Hand Deformity, and What Causes It?

A claw hand is a deformity in which one or more fingers are bent into a position that makes the hand look like a claw. The condition may affect one or both hands.

It is considered a complete hand deformity when it involves all the fingers due to conditions such as ulnar and median nerve palsy. A partial deformity that affects the two fingers controlled by the ulnar nerve is known as an isolated ulnar nerve palsy.

The condition occurs when there is weakness or paralysis of hand muscles that are responsible for straightening the fingers. It is usually related to damage to a nerve that starts at the neck. However, there are many possible causes of claw hand deformity, which may be present at birth or appear later in life. They include:

  • Nerve damage in the arm, such as ulnar palsy or cubital tunnel syndrome
  • Congenital birth defect
  • Specific genetic diseases
  • Certain bacterial infections
  • Trauma to the hand

A claw hand deformity is sometimes referred to as an “ape hand deformity,” although that term is very insensitive and politically incorrect.

Signs and symptoms of this condition include weakened muscles, numbness along the applicable nerve, and inability to move the thumb outward, straighten the fingers, or move the ring finger and pinky and other fingers that may be affected.

Diagnosing the Condition

Several other conditions have similar signs and symptoms. When you see the hand doctor, he will make efforts to eliminate the other possibilities in order to properly diagnose your condition. Other possibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Dupuytren’s contracture, which can cause lumps and pits in the palm of the hand and force the fingers to bend into the palm.
  • Cervical radiculopathy, which is an umbrella term to describe several conditions related to the inflammation or damage of a nerve root in the neck/cervical spine.
  • Klumpke paralysis, a rare birth injury to the nerves around a newborn’s shoulder.
  • Lower brachial plexopathy, which occurs when a group of nerves in the neck and arms do not operate correctly, resulting in a lack of movement in the arm and shoulder.

In order to diagnose a claw hand deformity, the hand doctor may recommend an electromyography and nerve condition studies.

Claw Hand Treatment Options

Claw hand can be treated through physical therapy, splinting, or surgery, such as a tendon transfer/graft.

Physical therapy has been shown to be highly effective in minimizing the effects of the condition. These include specific types of stretches as well as hand strengthening exercises.

Surgical options may be suitable if they would treat the underlying condition that is causing the claw hand deformity. If the condition is due to a serious burn or injury, for example, treating the burn may help.

However, if the condition was present at birth, surgical options could have negative effects, so talk with Dr. Arora to see if he would advise surgery in this case.

To discuss your options, schedule an appointment to see the hand surgeon at the southeast Michigan location closest to you.

Categories
Fingers General

What Happens if You Cut or Damage a Nerve in Your Finger?

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Even the thought of cutting a nerve in your finger can send a chill up your spine. If you truly do cut the nerve itself, this really is as serious as it sounds, and you should seek care as soon as possible. The sooner you get help for a damaged nerve in your finger, the more likely it is that full functionality can be restored.

However, if the injury is not deep enough to sever the nerve, your hand can usually heal itself without surgery, although you still should seek emergency treatment when necessary.

What are nerves, really?

“This is getting on my nerves.”

“You really cut a nerve with that comment.”

“I’m nervous.”

Do these phrases and idioms really relate to what nerves really are and what they do? Well, yes, they do — in a sense — when you think of it in terms of nerves sending signals to your brain, which controls your emotions.

In simple terms, the body has two primary nervous systems: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system includes the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system is located outside of this area throughout the body.

Peripheral nerves transmit electric impulses into or away from the central nervous system as a form of communication. It’s essentially a communication network.

The peripheral nervous system consists of more than 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons. They run throughout the body like wires, connecting the brain to other parts of the body or various parts of the body with each other.

The peripheral nerves are made of bundles of nerve fibers, which are wrapped with layers of tissue that form what is known as the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath is responsible for speeding up nerve impulses, the intensity of which vary depending on their and the amount of tissue around them.

This drawing shows the three main nerves of the hand: the ulnar nerve, the median nerve, and the radial nerve.

How many nerves are in your hands?

Although there are a countless number of nerve cells, there are three primary nerve systems in your hands, wrists, and arms.

1. Ulnar nerve

The ulnar nerve is located at the pinky finger and the adjacent side of the ring finger. It provides sensations on the palm side of the hand. It travels up through the elbow and is responsible for the pain we feel when we bump our elbow.

2. Radial nerve

The radial nerve is responsible for sensations at the back of the hand at the little finger and the other half of the ring finger.

3. Median nerve

The median nerve starts at the shoulder and enters the hand through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. The median nerve is responsible for sensations in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and part of the ring finger.

What happens if you cut or damage a nerve in your finger?

Many of us are familiar with the throbbing pain of a cut or injured finger. If you cut your finger and it is bleeding, the first step is to apply pressure to stop the bleeding. If the bleeding does not stop, you should go to your nearest hospital or urgent care facility, as you may need stitches.

If the sheath that covers the nerve remains intact after a cut, only the nerves farthest from the brain will be affected and die. (In other words, the deeper the cut, the closer it is to the nerve itself.) However, those can heal and grow back over time. Surgery is usually not necessary, but you will need to have the injury addressed by a medical professional for optimal healing.

If the injury is deep enough, you should seek emergency care as soon as possible, which may entail surgery to reattach the severed ends of the nerve sheath to one another.

In some cases, the cut may be deep enough that it damages the nerve itself. If that happens, the gap between the two parts of the nerve will have to be repaired, usually through a nerve graft from another part of the body. Another possibility is using a synthetic nerve conduit to bridge the gap in the nerve.

If the nerve in your finger was damaged due to a crushing injury, you may have to wait for the initial crush trauma to heal before the nerve damage can be addressed.

If you have damaged or cut a nerve in your finger, it’s important to seek care as soon as possible. If the need for treatment is urgent, go to your nearest emergency room. Otherwise, contact one of our hand surgery offices, located in West Bloomfield, Warren, Howell, and Macomb, for treatment as soon as possible.

Categories
Conditions General Hands

What is the Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis?

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The differences between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are significant, but the ability to identify one over the other can be somewhat elusive to the general public. A proper diagnosis is crucial for effective arthritis treatment.

The symptoms of these two common forms of arthritis may be similar, but the conditions are actually very different.

The word “arthritis” itself isn’t as much of a diagnosis as a description of more than 100 different types of ailments that involve joint pain or inflammation. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two of the most common forms. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 32.5 million U.S. adults suffer from osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis affects more than 1.3 million adults in the U.S.

To help you communicate your concerns to Dr. Arora, we offer the following comparison as a guide.

What is Osteoarthritis?

In very general terms, osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage in a joint wears out. It usually begins in one joint and may never affect other joints.

The pain can be mild, moderate, or severe. Moderate or severe osteoarthritis pain can make it difficult for patients to complete everyday activities, such as buttoning a shirt or tying their shoes.

It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older. Other risk factors for osteoarthritis include obesity, genetics, and joint injury or overuse.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. When this occurs, the immune system essentially “malfunctions” and attacks the synovial membrane that encases and protects the joints. It frequently affect several joints at the same time.

Beyond the pain, inflammation, and swelling common in other forms of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms may include fever, anemia, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Rheumatoid arthritis may also show signs in the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, kidneys, salivary glands, nerve tissue, bone marrow, and blood vessels. It tends to be symmetrical, so symptoms may occur on both sides of the body simultaneously.

This form of arthritis is a chronic condition. There is no cure, and it is likely to progress over time. However, treatment options can reduce pain, make the symptoms manageable, and prevent significant joint damage.

Women are more likely to develop RA than men are. RA can begin at any age but most commonly starts in middle age. Other risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis include family history, smoking, and excess weight.

4 Key Differences Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

1. Number of Joints Affected

Osteoarthritis may only affect one joint. Rheumatoid arthritis may affect several at the same time.

2. Symmetry

Rheumatoid arthritis tends to be symmetrical, meaning it affects both elbows, for instance. Osteoarthritis is more centralized, so it might or might not affect both sides of the body.

However, both sides of the body may become affected due to the exertion of too much pressure on one side. For example, if you experience osteoarthritis pain in your left wrist, you may use your right wrist more often, eventually causing the right wrist to act up as well.

3. Duration of Symptoms

The duration and extent of the pain is different.

With RA, joint pain and swelling can come and go, but the disease never really goes away. The goal of rheumatoid arthritis treatment is to make you feel better and get your symptoms under control, known as “remission.”

Osteoarthritis is also permanent and the pain and swelling are similar, but the condition can improve over time.

4. Additional Symptoms

Rheumatoid arthritis may have symptoms such as fever, fatigue, anemia, and loss of appetite. Osteoarthritis is usually only pain, swelling, and some loss of flexibility in the particular joint that is affected at the time.

If you are experiencing arthritis pain in your hands, wrists, or elbows, it’s important to determine the type of arthritis in order to create the best treatment and prevention plan for you. For an evaluation, diagnosis, and arthritis treatment, make an appointment to see Dr. Arora in Warren, West Bloomfield, Howell, or Macomb Township.

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Dr. Aroras office from my first call to schedule my appointment was friendly. Walking in the first day, I felt like I was in a nice atmosphere. Dr. Arora was EXCELLENT in taking great care of my hand injury. He was gentle and very understanding to the concerns I had about my hand. His expertise was admirable and I would recommend anyone with an injury to their hand to his office to be under his care. Because of him, I have healed faster than expected and will make an 100% recovery! Thank you Dr.

Jackie S.

I first thought I was going to have to have painful injections or surgery, but Dr. Arora suggested physical therapy may do the trick. I was doubtful, but I agreed to do it. Now, my pain is gone, and with the help of an ergonomic keyboard at work to keep my hands in the correct position, I am virtually pain free. The therapy strengthened my wrists and shoulders, and built more flexibility into my wrists.

Jerry T.

My experience with this doctor was positive from the outset. Dr. Arora was kind and spent a great deal of time with me. Staff was friendly. The office was nice and bright.

Ariel G.

Very friendly and helpful Great staff!!! Doctor Arora was very professional and did great work. I was very happy with everything!

L B.