Why are there bumps on my fingers

Aching hands, stiff fingers: osteoarthritis can be the cause

Status: 02.02.2021 3:32 p.m.

Typical symptoms of osteoarthritis in the finger joints are load-dependent pain, stiff, creaky and deformed joints. Usually several fingers are affected.

Often only single fingers cause severe pain. Movements such as the tweezer grip, pincer grip and clenching of the fist no longer work properly. That affects everyday life enormously. A special form of finger joint osteoarthritis is the so-called Bouchard osteoarthritis of the middle finger joints. It affects around 18 percent of all older people, mostly women.

How does the human hand work?

Our hands are marvels: the interaction between bones, joints, tendons, nerves and muscles is very complicated. Every grasping and grabbing is a highly complex process: 27 small bones and 15 joints work together precisely. These are connected by ligaments, tendons and 33 muscles. There are also nerves and blood vessels. Only the palm is protected by a sturdy tendon plate that allows a powerful grip. The fingers can bend and stretch, the thumb can also rotate. Without him, neither grasping nor gripping would be possible. Nerve impulses activate the bones, joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles - all the individual parts of the hand interlock like gears.

Causes of osteoarthritis in the finger joint

With osteoarthritis of the finger joints, the cartilage layer becomes thin. In some people, the cartilage ages faster than in others, presumably due to genetic or hormonal factors. Cracks in the cartilage surface and worn cartilage particles irritate the synovial membrane and are the cause of painful inflammatory reactions. After all, bone rubs against bone - and that hurts extremely. The body tries to compensate for the missing cartilage by growing new bone. This makes the joint lumpy and the finger more and more immobile.

Exercise is important for healthy joint cartilage

The elastic cartilage covers the joint surfaces. It serves as a cushion and "shock absorber" and protects the pain-sensitive periosteum. The joint cartilage consists of 70 percent water. He has no blood vessels. The supply of nutrients takes place exclusively through the synovial fluid. The regular alternation of loading and unloading ensures that the nutrients are distributed in the joint and can penetrate the cartilage well. Regular exercise is therefore a prerequisite for healthy cartilage.

Primary and secondary osteoarthritis

Although increasing age is considered a risk factor for osteoarthritis, the painful joint disease does not only affect the elderly. Numerous other factors play a role in the development. Basically, a distinction is made between two different forms of osteoarthritis:

  • The primary osteoarthritis is attributed to inferior cartilage tissue. The reasons for this are hereditary predisposition or circulatory disorders with hormonal malfunctions.
  • The secondary osteoarthritis arises from mechanical overload, for example in the case of congenital malpositions or as a complication after bone fractures with joint involvement and inflammatory changes. But it can also be the result of metabolic diseases such as gout and diabetes or osteoporosis.

Why do the finger joints hurt with osteoarthritis?

The fine, complex movements between the hand and finger bones only work smoothly if the joints can work properly. To do this, the synovial membrane must be intact. If it wears off, bone rubs against bone in the small joint and that hurts. Inflammations occur, liquid is deposited, the individual cogs in the hand, which is a miracle of movement, can no longer intermesh. The body often builds bones in the joints to make up for the deficit, so-called osteophytes. They change biomechanics even more. The fingers deform and the pain increases.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the fingers

With osteoarthritis, the symptoms usually begin on the index and middle fingers. Typically, small nodules and joint deformations form there. The small end joints of the fingers are particularly affected. Doctors speak of Heberden osteoarthritis, named after the English doctor William Heberden.

The end joints of the fingers are subject to much greater stress than is often assumed. The pressure load that acts on the joint cartilage per square millimeter is roughly the same as in the hip or knee joint. The cartilage layer in the finger joints is thinner.

Everyday movements and activities such as writing, buttoning blouses and jackets, turning the door key or picking up coins are then associated with sudden, stabbing pain and restricted mobility. The disease can also occur in the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb or in the area of ​​the wrist joints.

Bouchard osteoarthritis: affects women more often

The so-called Bouchard osteoarthritis, named after the French pathologist Charles-Joseph Bouchard, does not affect the end joints of the fingers like the more common Heberden osteoarthritis, but the middle joints of the fingers. Presumably it is genetic. In women, hands and fingers often start to hurt when they go through menopause. The fact that women develop Bouchard osteoarthritis more often than men could also be due to the fact that women have weaker ligaments and joints due to hormonal factors. Other factors that weaken the hands and promote illness are computer work and frequent cell phone use.

Therapy: treat osteoarthritis

A cure for osteoarthritis is not possible. Various therapies can relieve symptoms.

  • Painkiller and anti-inflammatory drugs cannot stop the disease, but alleviate the symptoms. Because of their side effects, they should only be used for a short time.
  • A physical therapy can maintain the mobility of the joints - for example, finger gymnastics in warm water helps against morning stiffness.
  • physical therapy: Muscle stretching and finger exercises increase the mobility of the fingers and ensure an exchange of the synovial fluid so that inflammatory substances are transported away. Stroking, pulling, pressing trigger points and gymnastics exercises can then also be carried out at home.
  • Syringes (Hyaluron for buffering or cortisone against the inflammation) can provide relief - but are not paid for by statutory health insurance.
  • Laser treatmentswith which a stimulus is set in the joint that stimulates the body to heal itself, are also not covered by statutory health insurance.
  • Often you can Natural remedies, for example spices, which relieve discomfort.
  • Heat applications like peat and paraffin baths stimulate the metabolism, loosen up cramped muscles and relieve pain. Ice packs often help with acute inflammation.
  • So-called also bring relief Traction and compression treatmentsin which the joints are relieved by tension.
  • Bandages or rails allow a nightly immobilization.
  • There are tools such as Support cushions and special keyboardsthat can slow down the breakdown process in your fingers.
  • Especially the finger joints stressful activities - such as wringing out cleaning rags or gardening - are taboo for people with osteoarthritis.

Surgery only makes sense as a last resort

Not every person affected uses their fingers in the same way: For some people it is more a question of alleviating or eliminating the pain, while for others it is more important to maintain mobility and strength in order to be able to continue a job or a hobby, for example. Hand surgery is only used if other therapies are not sufficient for arthrosis of the finger joints.

Diet: vitamins, fiber, oils and little meat

A low-meat mixed diet with lots of fruit, vegetables and vegetable oils provides the cartilage with all the necessary nutrients and also leads to a normalization of body weight, so that the joints are less stressed. A balanced diet rich in vitamins and fiber is recommended: Omega-3 fatty acids in fish and vegetable oils have an anti-inflammatory effect and are therefore well suited to the diet plan for osteoarthritis. Meat and sausage products as well as animal fats are unfavorable. They cause the inflammation-promoting arachidonic acid to form in the body.

Relieve osteoarthritis with spices

A spice mixture made from equal parts cumin, coriander and nutmeg has proven to be very promising for alleviating osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis sufferers take a knife tip with water or yogurt once or twice a day. The mixture is said to help 80 percent of osteoarthritis sufferers, and many can even use it to reduce the dosage of their pain medication.

In particular, the ingredients responsible for the spiciness show a pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effect, presumably through an improved blood flow to the joint capsule, which leads to a build-up of the synovial membrane. In some cases, the improvement through the spice mixture can even be seen during an ultrasound examination.

Turmeric and rose hip powder have also proven effective against the pain.

Exercises for hand and finger joint arthrosis

The strength and mobility of the joints can be trained with the following exercises. It is best to repeat each exercise three times:

  • Place your forearms palm down on a table top, raise your hands for a few seconds and then put them down again, keeping your forearms in place.
  • Place your forearms palm down on a table top. Roll your fingers into a fist one at a time, starting with your fingertips and without exerting force. Hold your fist for a few seconds, then slowly roll your fingers out again.
  • Sit next to a table, place your forearm on the table top and let your hand hang over the edge. Make a loose fist and raise your hand. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat with the other hand.
  • Place your hands palm up on a table top. Touch the tips of the other fingers one after the other with the tip of your thumb without using force.
  • Support your elbows on a table top and press your palms against each other. Push your elbows as far apart as possible.


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Visit | 02/02/2021 | 8:15 pm