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How to Prevent Arthritis in Hands

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Arthritis is the inflammation of the joints causing pain, swelling, and redness in the joints. It is not a single disease but a term used to refer to joint inflammation or joint ailments. There are as many as 100 types of arthritis, all with different manifestations and symptoms.

Many different types of arthritis affect the joints of hands, wrists, and fingers, including osteoarthritis (OA) and inflammatory arthritis types such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). 

This guide will walk you through how to avoid arthritis in your hands including an arthritis prevention diet and exercises to prevent hand arthritis. 

Types of Arthritis in Hands

Calf pain causes will vary depending on your symptoms, the location of the pain, and any preexisting health conditions.

  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis causes the breakdown of cartilage at the ends of the bones at the joints causing the bones to rub against each other in the joint area. 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disease that affects the synovium lining of the joints. It typically affects the joints of the wrist and fingers. 
  • Juvenile arthritis: Juvenile arthritis is used to describe the disease before 16, causing pain and swelling in the hands and wrist joints.

There's no cure for arthritis, but you can do things to prevent arthritis in your hands by preventing arthritis flare-ups and reducing joint damage.

What can I do to prevent arthritis in my hands?

You may try to prevent arthritis in the hand joints, but you can still develop the disease. However, there are some ways to prevent arthritis in the hands and reduce the risk:

  • Maintain a healthy weight to fight off osteoarthritis.
  • Don't smoke or quit smoking. It may reduce the risk of developing Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Try to avoid injury while playing sports and participating in recreational activities.
  • Make sure to avoid injury at work. If the nature of your job requires a lot of pushing, pulling, and lifting heavy objects, use appropriate safety equipment.
  • If you work on computers and your job demands a lot of typing, practice good posture. If possible, use a special keyboard, wrist cushion, or pad.
  • The Arthritis Foundation recommends eating a balanced diet to prevent inflammation and improve joint symptoms.
  • Reducing stress can help prevent flares and manage arthritis. Use stress-relieving techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, and practicing gratitude.
  • Exercise can help increase the production of synovial fluid in the joints, which can also improve joint function.

Foods to Prevent Arthritis in Hands

What can you eat to prevent arthritis?

Fortunately, many foods can ease inflammation and help relieve some of the joint pain associated with arthritis. There are also certain types of spices that help avoid arthritis pain which you can incorporate into your daily diet. Listed below are some foods that help with relieving joint pain.

  • Fatty fish is rich in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, beneficial for reducing inflammation and the severity of arthritis symptoms.
  • Ginger reduces symptoms of arthritis and decreases inflammation, but more research in humans is needed.
  • Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may alleviate arthritis symptoms as well as inflammation.
  • Olive oil works to reduce inflammation and may lower the risk of arthritis. One animal study found that it may slow arthritis progression and ease symptoms.
  • Citrus Fruits such as grapefruits, oranges, lemons, and limes are also valuable allies in the fight against joint pain. 
  • Green Tea is enriched with powerful antioxidants and polyphenols. It reduces inflammation and slows the process of cartilage deterioration.

Hand Exercises to Prevent Arthritis

Arthritis wears away at the joint's cartilage, a cushioning material between bones causing inflammation and irritation of the synovial lining of the joints, which produces the synovial fluid that protects and lubricates the joints.

There is increased pain and stiffness in the joints of the hands affected by arthritis. A non-invasive way to keep the joints flexible, improve mobility, and relieve arthritis pain is hand stretches and exercises. In addition, hand exercises for arthritis may strengthen the muscles that support the hand joints and help keep ligaments and tendons flexible, which improves hand function and mobility.

Finally, hand strengthening exercises can increase the production of synovial fluid, which can also improve joint function.

  • Wrist extension and flexion: Place the forearm on a flat surface with your palm facing downward and hanging at the edge of the table. Move the hand upward until you feel the stretch, lower it to the starting position, repeat the same motions with both hands.
  • Wrist supination/pronation: Stand or sit down while keeping your arm at your side. Bend the elbow at 90 degrees while the hand palm is facing downwards. Rotate the forearm to make the palm faces up and then down again. Repeat it a few times. 
  • Wrist ulnar/radial deviation: Start by placing your forearm on a table with a thumb upward. Do the exercise by moving the wrist up and then down through its full range of motion.
  • Thumb flexion/extension: Hold your hand out, keeping the fingers straight. Bend the thumb inward toward your palm and stretch your thumb. Keep this position for one or two seconds and then return the thumb to the starting position.
  • Hand/finger tendon glide: Extend your fingers extended straight out, make a hook fist, hold for 5–10 seconds, and then straight your hand. Next, make a full fist, hold it for 5–10 seconds, and then straight your hand. Last, make a straight fist, hold for 5–10 seconds, and straighten your hand.

Conclusively, if you are at risk of developing hand arthritis, pay attention to preventive measures to reduce the risk of developing it. If you already have arthritis, adopt the methods which can reduce the pain and alleviate the symptoms. There are also many over-the-counter joint pain relief creams that you can try, along with the various techniques mentioned above.

Sources

  • About arthritis. (n.d.). arthritis.org/about-arthritis/
  • Arthritis (2017). cdc.gov/arthritis/
  • Paturel A. Arthritis Foundation. The ultimate arthritis diet.
  • Harvard Medical School. 5 exercises to improve hand mobility.
  • Carlson MG, Osei DA. Sports injuries of the hand, wrist and elbow. Hospital for Special Surgery. Updated December 21, 2020.
  • Arthritis facts. (n.d.). arthritis.org/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/arthritis-statistics-facts.php
  • How to prevent arthritis. (n.d.). arthritis.org/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/arthritis-prevention.php
  • Understanding arthritis. (n.d.). arthritis.org/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/

Additional Arthritis REsources

The 2021 Ultimate Guide to Arthritis

The Ultimate Guide to Arthritis

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The Ultimate Guide to Pain Management

The Ultimate Guide to Pain Management

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The Ultimate Guide to Red Light Therapy for Pain

The Ultimate Guide to Red Light Therapy for Pain

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Joint Pain Causes, Remedies, & Treatments for Relief

Joint Pain Causes, Remedies, & Treatments for Relief

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