Blog Category

Category: Hands

Categories
Conditions Hands Wrists

Catch the Early Signs of Arthritis in Your Wrists and Hands

Read Blog

Very little in the world can make you feel older or more helpless than developing arthritis in your hands, body parts we often times take for granted. Fortunately, while there is no known cure for either rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, if you catch the early signs of arthritis in your wrists and hands, treatment is possible. Hand Doctor Avery Arora can recommend ways to keep your hands and wrists flexible and strong for years to come.

First, let’s discuss the two types of arthritis and how they differ from one another. Then, we’ll get into the signs and symptoms that indicate the following:

  • if you’re developing arthritis
  • when to see a hand doctor
  • what kinds of treatment are available to you

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis v. Osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that adversely affects the cells in your body that keep your joints coated and lubricated, whereas osteoarthritis is the “wear and tear” arthritis. The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, it seems to be linked to certain genetic components in association with environmental factors, including bacterial or viral infections.

Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is caused by aging joints, obesity, and/or trauma to a joint (or joints). Osteoarthritis can affect just one joint or many. Rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect joints symmetrically. So, if you have fairly uniform symptoms in both of your hands and/or wrists, it is more likely that you have rheumatoid arthritis than osteoarthritis. To be absolutely sure, though, it’s best to talk with a your hand doctor for a proper diagnosis.

 

What Are the Symptoms of Arthritis?

If you exhibit any or all of the following symptoms, it is likely that you have arthritis in your hands and/or wrists, and it’s time to call the hand doctor:

  • Stiffness, pain, and/or swelling in the fingers, hands, and/or wrists
  • Warm hand or wrist joints, especially if they’re tender to the touch
  • Finger joint deformities
  • Numbness and/or tingling in hands and fingers
  • Pain, stiffness, and/or swelling that lasts more than an hour

Arthritis in the hands can be a serious problem, especially if you use your hands for your work. Whether you work in an office or a garage, pain and stiffness in your hands and wrists can mean major issues for your job. So, if you exhibit any of these symptoms, call a hand specialist immediately. This disorder will not just go away if left untreated.

 

Arthritis Treatment

Depending on how severe your arthritis is, your doctor may prescribe one of many treatment options. For mild arthritic pain, nSAIDs (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin) may be effective enough to relieve pain and swelling. Some patients require a special wrist brace to stabilize the joints and keep them in the proper position so as not to cause any more damage.

Dr. Arora, Michigan’s top hand surgeon, may also recommend a change of diet and stress management, physical therapy, and/or rest and exercise. In some cases, surgery is necessary, but this can often be avoided if the disorder is caught and treated early. If you suspect that you’re suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, make an appointment with your hand doctor today.

Here at Arora Hand Surgery, we care about your health. If you are feeling hand or wrist discomfort and worry that it may be the first signs of arthritis, visit Dr. Avery Arora at one of his southeast Michigan offices located in West Bloomfield, Warren, Macomb Township, or Howell.

 

Categories
Hands

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – What Is It? And How Is It Diagnosed and Treated?

Read Blog

Over the past couple of decades, due to a nationwide rise in computer (and now Smartphone) usage, carpal tunnel syndrome has become a household term. We’ve been warned for years of the importance of using the proper posture and hand positions when typing, texting, scrolling, and/or swiping on our laptops and mobile devices. If we don’t, we’re told we will inevitably develop carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) down the road… but what is carpal tunnel syndrome exactly?

While the term gets tossed around a lot, there’s often not a lot of explanation given as to what this syndrome actually is, how it is diagnosed, or how it is treated. Because of this, a lot of people assume that any hand or wrist pain incurred from typing or texting must be carpal tunnel syndrome. In this article, we’ll set the record straight on carpal tunnel and how it differs from other office work related injuries to the hands and wrists. Then we’ll discuss how it’s treated and when you should see a doctor or hand surgeon.

 

What Is Carpal Tunnel?

First of all, the carpal tunnel is a passageway inside your wrist, on the palm side, the function of which is to protect the tendons that run to your fingers and the major nerve that runs to your palm. So, yes, you have a carpal tunnel, but that doesn’t mean you have carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the carpal tunnel is compressed, and that nerve is pinched. Early symptoms include numbness, and the syndrome eventually leads to weakness in the hand(s). It is so strongly associated with office work because the carpal tunnel can be compressed if you type with your hands at an angle, with your wrists resting on the desk or keyboard at a lower elevation than your palms.

How Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed?

If you experience hand or wrist pain or numbness after you’ve been typing or texting, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome, but you may also have another type of repetitive motion injury from your posture and hand position while typing. It’s important to get a professional diagnosis because self-diagnosis and at-home treatment could actually make things much worse if you are wrong about your condition.

To avoid a lot of pain and suffering, see your doctor immediately if you are experiencing tingling, numbness, or pain in your hands or wrists. Your general practitioner should refer you to a qualified hand surgeon who can help you. When you go in for diagnosis, your doctor may:

  • Perform a physical exam on your hand(s) to determine whether you’ve lost strength or suffered nerve damage
  • Take an x-ray of the affected area to rule out other possible causes of the pain or discomfort, such as an injury or arthritis
  • Use an electromyogram to test check for muscle damage and/or conduct a nerve conduction study to test for nerve damage

All of these tests will help to determine whether you have carpal tunnel syndrome or another problem with your hand and/or wrist. Carpal tunnel treatments include partial or total immobilization and stabilization of the wrist, hand therapy, and prescribed nSAIDs like ibuprofen or corticosteroids. If the condition progresses, surgery may be necessary, but if your problem is diagnosed and treated early, your orthopedic surgeon should be able to help you with non-invasive treatments.

Here at Arora Hand Surgery, we care about your health. If you are feeling hand or wrist discomfort and worry that it may be carpal tunnel syndrome, visit Dr. Avery Arora at one of his southeast Michigan offices located in West Bloomfield, Warren, Macomb Township, or Howell.

Categories
Hands

Yard Work and Gardening Shouldn’t Be Painful. Here’s What’s Happening if You’re Doing Them Wrong.

Read Blog

There are two types of people in this world: those that look forward to spring and summer yard upkeep and those who dread it like the plague. It probably goes without saying why it’s dreaded by some; the activity itself can be draining and sometimes even leave you in pain. Yard work and gardening shouldn’t be painful, though. Aside from investing into helpful tools such as garden kneeling pads and wireless weedwhackers, here are some other ways to avoid pain during yard work and gardening.

 

The gardening and yard work actions that are causing pain.

When you’re working in the yard and garden, the aches and pains are exacerbated by the bending, crouching, grasping, and repetitive one-handed tasks. The problem with these actions is that you begin doing them incorrectly because the incorrect way feels “easier” – at least, it does in the beginning. Some examples of incorrect ways of movement are:

 

  • Exclusively twisting to the left if you’re right-handed (and vice versa)
  • Raking or digging with only the dominant hand
  • The ever-popular action of lifting heavy weight with the back instead of the legs

 

Ways to prevent gardening and yard work pain.

The trick to completing a weekend’s worth of outdoor upkeep and only feeling the satisfying dull ache of a hard day’s work without the pain is to learn the proper way to use your body and to know your limits. Our very own Dr. Avery Arora, a hand surgeon in the Detroit, Michigan area, says, “Your body will feel so much better when you fix the way you’re working. We encourage you to train the mind to do it correctly, and then you’ll find the body will follow suit.”

Yard Work and Gardening Shouldn’t Be Painful. Here’s What’s Happening if You’re Doing Them Wrong.

 

It’s all about examining the cause of the problem and then stopping it. Some tips that may help reduce future pain include:

 

  • Replace crouching and kneeling with the “armchair” position, pictured above.
  • Take breaks regularly. During your break, walk around and stretch your whole body, including your hands.
  • Engage all muscles by rotating arm and leg work. If you favor working one side of your body, slowly try completing the work with the other side. The non-dominant side may work a little slower, but that’s okay.

 

Gardening and yard work is, without a doubt, a workout. If you consider a three-to-four-hour workout pretty extensive, remember to apply that same thought to your outdoor tasks as well. Work your body’s limit just the way you would in a gym, and then start again another day.

 

Here at Arora Hand Surgery, we care about your health. If you feel as if you’ve suffered a hand, wrist, or elbow injury due to gardening or yard work, visit Dr. Avery Arora at one of his southeast Michigan offices located in West Bloomfield, Warren, Macomb Township, or Howell.

 

 

Categories
Elbows Hands Wrists

Common Ping Pong Injuries & How to Prevent Them

Read Blog

For a game that is generally considered to be mild on the activity spectrum of sports, ping pong boasts a fairly strong injury record among its players. Here at Arora Hand Surgery, we see injuries resulting from the game pretty regularly, but the good news is, our patients’ injuries are usually treatable and have quick recovery times. In this blog, we’ll talk about common ping pong injuries and how to prevent them.

Due to its abrupt and bursts-of-movement nature, ping pong’s common injuries usually occur to the limb that holds the paddle. In the upper extremities, the wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints are the most vulnerable injury spots, with ankles coming in at a close second.

 

How dangerous is ping pong?

As one of the most popular sports in the world, this all-age sport is generally considered to be on the safer side of extracurricular activities. When injuries do occur, it’s usually in players who perform at high levels of athleticism and play very regularly. When pain begins to occur, we see that it’s due to bad stroke habits, hitting too hard, and not warming up correctly.

What should you do when you feel pain?

First, we want to clarify that when muscles contract regularly, tenderness is to be expected. However, if you notice that the tenderness or “ache” has evolved into a dull or sharp pain, we encourage you to stop playing and see a physician immediately if the pain does not go away after 24 hours.

What are the most common injuries from ping pong (or table tennis)?

There are several injuries that occur from ping pong, the following are the ones we see the most often at our office:

Tennis elbow – a painful condition identified by inflammation of tendons that connect the hand to the elbow. This is usually caused by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm.

Wrist sprain – this occurs when the strong ligaments that support the wrist stretch far beyond their limits or actually tear from a twisted force.

Rotator cuff injury – these account for around 10% of the injuries we see from ping pong. They are caused by progressive wear and tear of the tendon tissue over time.

How to prevent ping pong or “table tennis” injury:

  1. Choose a lighter racket.
  2. Wear stabilizing wristbands.
  3. Warm up!
  4. Learn about the energy linking cycle and how it can prevent injury in the sport of ping pong.
  5. Stop playing when an ache has progressed into a pain.

ping pong hand injuries

Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of ping pong, or table tennis, injuries are very important for your safety. If you think you’ve suffered an injury or want to know more about hand, wrist, and elbow injury treatment options, make an appointment to see Dr. Arora, the hand specialist himself, at his West Bloomfield, Warren, Macomb Township, or Howell office.

Categories
General Hands Treatments

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

Read Blog

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.

Categories
General Hands Uncategorized

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

Read Blog

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.

Categories
General Hands

Claw Hand Deformity: Causes and Treatment Options

Read Blog

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
Hands

Common Causes of Stiff Hands

Read Blog

Stiff hands can hit you all of a sudden. One minute you’re going about your day and the next, you’re wiggling your wrists in hopes of bringing life back into your fingers.

Certain serious medical conditions can definitely bring this on, but in other cases, your hands may feel stiff for no apparent reason.

Well, there most likely is a reason why your hands are stiff, and self-care may be your first line of treatment and prevention.

5 Common Causes of Stiff Hands

Stiffness in your fingers, thumb, and palm occur when there is a problem in a joint, including the ligaments and muscles.

One of the greatest culprits is arthritis, which isn’t a condition as much of a description of more than 100 types of ailments. Types of arthritis that may lead to stiff hands include:

Other medical conditions that can contribute to the sensation include:

Environmental factors and how you use your hands may lead to stiffness as well, such as gaming for too long or spending too much time outside in freezing temperatures.

Questions and Answers

Whether your hands become stiff temporarily for a few minutes or it’s an ongoing symptom, the reasons why this happens can be mysterious. When you see Dr. Arora, tell him about your symptoms in detail, and he will help identify the source of your problems.

In the meantime, here are some of the common questions we hear about hand and joint stiffness along with the basic answers.

Why do my hands get stiff in the morning?

One of the simplest answers is that you slept on them or leaned on them too much as you were sleeping. Avoid leaning on your wrists or tucking your hands under your head as you sleep. Using a brace at night may help you keep your wrists straight.

Otherwise, a common cause of stiff hands in the morning is worn joints or muscle tightness. This may be an indicator of arthritis, but not necessarily. Over the course of your life, your joints experience a lot of wear-and-tear; specifically, the cartilage in your joints dries out, stiffens, and loses lubrication.

This can lead to weaker muscles and stiff tendons, which may tighten even more as you sleep because you’re not moving. Lack of movement allows fluid to build up, which can stiffen tissues. When we move, bodily fluids move through the body more evenly, which can increase flexibility.

Simple lifestyle changes may help combat stiffness in your hands in the morning, including using proper mattresses and pillows, avoiding cold temperatures, staying hydrated, and maintaining a healthy diet. You also should get regular exercise that is ideal for your body’s needs, so talk with Dr. Arora about stretches and exercises you can do to strengthen the muscles in your hands.

Why are the symptoms bad at night?

Just like our eyes and legs, our hands get a lot of use during the day. For that reason, you may feel more stiffness, pain, or throbbing in your hands in the evenings. Resting your hands will help them recover from the everyday grind. That’s the simple answer.

Otherwise, if your hands get stiff while you sleep, it could be a sign of a more serious condition, so talk with Dr. Arora about your symptoms.

Why does cold weather make my fingers stiff?

Momentarily, that’s actually a good sign; it means your body is working as it should. Our fingers and toes are designed to protect the rest of our bodies. In the cold, our blood vessels constrict to keep the core of our bodies and our vital organs warm. That may leave our fingers and toes colder and stiffer.

If you keep that up too long, though, you may experience frostbite in your extremities, which can be very dangerous. Help your body stay warm in the cold by wearing gloves, thick socks, and boots, as well as hats that can cover your ears. If they become wet, change into dry clothing as soon as possible. If you are outside shoveling or playing in the snow, go indoors every 15 minutes or so to warm up.

How do you treat stiff hands?

Treatment for stiff hands will depend on its causes, but some home remedies may help.

  1. Ask our hand therapist, Lodia, about hand exercises that can help you stimulate your blood flow in the morning or relieve overuse symptoms in the evening.
  2. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications may help relieve swelling that is causing stiffness in your hands. Talk with Dr. Arora to determine if this will help you. He may have specific medications that would be preferable in your case.
  3. You can use a brace while you sleep, while participating in hobbies, or at work if your job requires intense use of your hands.
  4. Gently stretch your hand muscles to loosen them. Ask Dr. Arora or Lodia about how to loosen up your hand muscles safely.
  5. Take a lukewarm shower or bath to relieve stiff joints. Avoid water that is too hot, as this can dry your skin, which could make your hands feel tighter.
  6. Use a warm compress or heating pad for only several minutes to relieve stiffness. Be sure to wrap the heating device in a towel before placing it on your skin to avoid burns or swelling.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The first step is to determine why you are experiencing stiff hands. Once the cause is identified, we can advise you on the best course of action, whether it’s simple self-care, hand therapy, medication, or the use of support devices. Surgery may be required in some more serious cases when other remedies do not help.

If your stiff hands are regularly causing you discomfort or you are concerned that this may be due to a serious medical condition, call us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Arora. We will help you identify the cause of your hand symptoms and devise a treatment plan that works for you.

Categories
Conditions General Hands

What is the Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Read Blog

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.

Get on the List

Subscribe

Patient

Stories

Read All

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.