Arthritis in the fingers is caused usually by ‘osteo-arthritis’ or ‘rheumatoid arthritis’; the smooth cartilage surfaces in the affected joint(s) are lost or damaged and the adjacent bones grind together causing pain. The joints may also adopt an unnatural position.
It is a common condition and if the pain is persistent it can be treated surgically by replacing the affected joint or by fusing the bones together so that they no longer grind painfully. There are 3 knuckles in each finger and any of them can be affected by arthritis with the middle and end joints being most commonly involved.
Replacing an arthritic finger joint. The joint is replaced with an artificial joint (in similar fashion to hip and knee replacement surgery). This is 90% effective for relieving or reducing arthritis pain and preserves the ability to move the joint although range of movement is typically 50% of the normal joint range. Artificial joints for fingers come in several different designs being made variously from metal with polyethylene linings, silicone-rubber, or pyrolytic carbon (a ceramic type of material).
Fusing the joint - 'arthrodesis'. This also makes the position of the joint appear more natural. The joint is set at a useful angle of function which will be explained and discussed with you before the surgery. Once this is set the joint will no longer move but the arthritis pain will be relieved.
Non-surgical treatment. In the absence of surgery, arthritis can be treated in an ongoing fashion by splints, oral painkillers or by having steroid injected into the joint.
"...it was a pleasure to be treated by him. I was amazed at the information he provided regarding my condition and actually provided me with treatment on the day. He also explained what actions I should take if there was no improvement.”