Shaquille O’Neal, Kristy McPherson, Dorothy Hamill all have some something in common with me. Yes, I was athletic for most of my life. However, what we have in common isn’t as much as what they do for a living. In fact, we all have suffered from the evil arthritis.
Unfortunately, that’s where the similarities end. We all have arthritis in different parts of our body. The reason for most arthritis is a tremendous physical stress placed on a joint which is particularly susceptible to wear.
Arthritis in the hand, thumb wrist is It is referred to by many different names: basal joint arthritics, first CMC (carpometacarpal) arthritis, and trapezio-metacarpal arthritis.
Types of Arthritis
Arthritis defines as swelling and inflammation of one or more of the joints. It describes more than 100 conditions that affects the joints and tissue around the joint. There are several types of arthritis, however I am going to discuss the top 2.
Osteoarthritis (OA) FYI, this is what I have
Also called degenerative arthritis which is the most common. According to the CDC if affects over 32 million people in the United States. OA occurs when the cartilage in your joints breaks down. Consequently, it eventually causes the bones to rub together and joints to inflame.
- joint pain
- loss of flexibility
- grating sensation or you hear popping or cracking
- bone spurs
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
A type of autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the joints. That being the case, deformities of the joint can eventually occur.
- warmth and burning
- tingling in hands and feet
- weight loss
- fatigue and tiredness
What to do?
If you have arthritis participating in joint-friendly physical activities can improve pain, function and quality of life. Examples of joint-friendly activities include walking, biking and swimming.
Honestly, it sucks to have pain in the hand, wrist and thumb. In fact, I work on a computer all day, use my hands to do house and yard work.
5 exercises suggested by Harvard Health Publishing are:
1. Wrist extension and flexion
- Place your forearm on a table on a rolled-up towel for padding with your hand hanging off the edge of the table, palm down.
- Move the hand upward until you feel a gentle stretch.
- Return to the starting position.
- Repeat the same motions with the elbow bent at your side, palm facing up.
2. Wrist supination/pronation
- Stand or sit with your arm at your side with the elbow bent to 90 degrees, palm facing down.
- Rotate your forearm, so that your palm faces up and then down.
3. Wrist ulnar/radial deviation
- Support your forearm on a table on a rolled-up towel for padding or on your knee, thumb upward.
- Move the wrist up and down through its full range of motion.
4. Thumb flexion/extension
- Begin with your thumb positioned outward.
- Move the thumb across the palm and back to the starting position.
5. Hand/finger tendon glide
- Start with the fingers extended straight out.
- Make a hook fist; return to a straight hand.
- Make a full fist; return to a straight hand.
- Make a straight fist; return to a straight hand.
For more information on arthritis types check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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