There are multiple forms of arthritis that can affect the hands and wrists, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. If you find many of your daily activities are significantly impacted by arthritis, there are ways you can minimize pain and swelling.
Splints are especially effective for arthritis in your wrists. Wrist arthritis can cause significant burning pain when you flex your wrist in different directions. Since your wrists are already inflamed, flexing your wrists may cause added compression on nerves or increase tension on soft tissues. Although it takes some adjustment to maneuver while wearing wrist splints, they are helpful in reducing pain. If you notice you wake up with significant wrist pain, it may be wise to wear splints to bed to keep your hand and wrist in alignment while you sleep.
Splinting is also helpful for arthritis at the base of the thumb. When choosing a splint, you want one that limits the range of motion at your thumb's base, while giving some ability to use your thumb for grasping objects. Since your thumb is an integral part of daily activities, keeping it splinted can prevent simple activities from increasing pain.
Compression gloves can be helpful if you experience swelling in your hands and wrists. They are usually made from lightweight, breathable fabric with some flexibility to prevent an unsafe amount of compression. You need to remain vigilant about the swelling in your hands and wrists when using compression gloves or any type of restrictive device, such as wrapping your hands with an elastic bandage. Significant swelling from arthritis can often happen quickly, which may reduce blood circulation or cause nerve compression if your hands and wrists are being compressed. If you notice any discomfort, remove the compression device immediately.
Include Temperature Therapy
Hot and/or cold therapy is also useful in managing pain and swelling from arthritis. Some compression devices may integrate a way to use temperature therapy with compression. Everyone is different with regards to which, if any, temperatures are helpful. You may notice certain temperatures help for different problems. In general, cold helps with swelling, but may increase aching or throbbing pains in your joints. You may find alternating between heat and cold or heat and room temperature works best for your combination of symptoms.
Raynaud's phenomenon commonly occurs with some types of arthritis. Since the condition makes your fingers go numb in response to the cold, you should keep an inexpensive pair of gloves readily available. If you have Raynaud's, you may notice numbness occurs even when the temperature is not significantly cold to the rest of your body. Keeping your fingers warm will not only help reduce numbness, but also decrease pain in response to the change in temperature.
When arthritis affects your hands and wrists, you may experience a range of symptoms. There are ways to reduce pain and swelling so you can continue your daily activities. For more information, contact specialists at places like Town Center Orthopaedic Associates, P.C.