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How to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis in Fingers

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a degenerative illness of joints mostly, so it can affect your fingers as well. You might not be able to move your fingers in a usual manner and feel pain. 

But if treated as soon as diagnosed, the symptoms of RA in fingers can be stopped and controlled. For this, let’s dive in to know the signs of RA and ways you can control rheumatoid arthritis in your fingers.

1.Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in hands and fingers 

  • Pain
  • Tingling sensation 
  • Numbness 
  • Swelling 
  • Not able to bend and stretch fingers normally 
  • Not able to perform day to day tasks 

2. Risk factors of rheumatoid arthritis 

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect any person, male or female, and of any age. As it’s an autoimmune response so it can happen to anyone. But here are a few risk factors that can increase your chances of developing RA: 

  • Genes. If anyone in your family has RA then you might develop it as well. So it can be genetic.
  • Gender. Females are more likely to develop RA and that can be due to hormonal changes that occur with age (pregnancy, postpartum, menopause). Men also suffer from RA but the numbers are less.

If you’re at a risk of developing RA then proper care can certainly prevent it. You have to take a healthy diet, exercise, and prevent doing anything (movements, specifically) repeatedly without taking a break.

3. Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis 

If you have unexplainable pain in your fingers then it’s good to see your doctor as soon as possible. Because RA can be controlled effectively if treated on time. If not taken care of, RA can worsen to the extent that you can’t move your fingers at all. 

The rheumatologist will examine your fingers and suggest a set of treatments that includes medicines and therapy. Let’s have a look at the treatments your doctor might suggest.

4. Medication 

Your rheumatologist will suggest painkillers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). 

These medicines will ease the pain and swelling. You will be able to move your fingers easily. You can control RA if you take medicines as soon as you’re diagnosed and strictly according to the doctor’s prescription. 

5. Therapy 

Physical therapy of fingers affected by rheumatoid arthritis can help in movement. Your therapist will guide you about how and when you have to move your fingers in order to stimulate your joints and strengthen them. 

Therapy is great to “practice” the movement of fingers. But you have to follow your therapist’s instructions as too much movement can aggravate inflammation and pain.

Before and after therapy, you can give your fingers hot and cold treatment (discussed below) to get the best results. 

6. Laser treatment 

One of the modern and very effective treatments is laser pain therapy. In this method, a laser beam is directed to the affected area to reduce pain and inflammation. Expert doctors will guide you through the whole procedure. The treatment span and time per session depends on your condition. But laser treatment helps reduce pain and inflammation considerably, right after the first session. 

7. Surgery 

Most of the time patients suffering from RA don’t need surgery and can live normal lives. But in a few cases, RA worsens with time. So much so that the joints deform and you can’t move your fingers at all. 

So as a last resort, the doctor might suggest surgery to fix your joints and tendons and help you live a near to normal life.

Surgery is inevitable in case of deformities caused by RA. One of these deformities is Swan-neck deformity. In this case, the joints of the base of fingers and wrist deform in a way that you can’t move your fingers and hands normally. So in this case surgery is performed to realign or fuse joints. 

8. Home remedies to treat rheumatoid arthritis 

Along with medicines and therapy, you must try home remedies that are proven to ease the pain and reduce inflammation. Some of the home/natural remedies to get rid of rheumatoid arthritis in hands are: 

  • Give your fingers a break: Avoid repeated motion of fingers. Like if you type too much or you use a tool on your job then give your fingers some break after a while. During that break don’t move your fingers in that uniform pattern. But try to bend and stretch your fingers to reduce pain and ease movement. 
  • Hot and cold compressors: You can apply a hot compressor on your fingers. The heat eases pain and liquifies the synovial fluid. Due to this effect, joints glide easily over each other. You can also try ice packs. Cold packs reduce inflammation and swelling. You can try both hot and cold treatment alternatively and see if it works that way. Never apply a boiling hot pack or direct ice on your fingers.
  • Massage: You can try giving a massage to your fingers with your favorite oil. Massage gives strength to joints and bones and also reduces pain. So you can always try massage but consult your doctor in case your RA has gotten worse with time.
  • Diet to reduce inflammation: Add whole-grain foods, fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and fatty fish in your daily meals. All these foods are rich in antioxidants that relieve inflammation. Also, avoid sugary foods, foods with preservatives, fast food, junk, and fried food. 

Remember home remedies aren’t the substitute for medicines. You’ve to try home remedies along with your medicines to control rheumatoid arthritis.

9. Is rheumatoid arthritis curable? 

No, rheumatoid arthritis can’t be cured and your joints can’t get back to their original shape. But you can certainly control RA from worsening by following the above treatments. If you don’t take the symptoms lightly and consult your doctor then you can control the disease with time.

In the case of mild RA, even you can reverse the symptoms if you follow your doctor’s advice and try home remedies as well. 

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune response that can be genetic as well. So it’s not curable but treatable and can be controlled. 

10. The Takeaway 

Rheumatoid arthritis in fingers is very common. It’s a degenerative illness of joints in which you can’t move your fingers normally due to pain and inflammation. The causes are unknown yet, as RA is an autoimmune response. If not treated properly, RA can get worse and lead to immobility. 

So, if you experience the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (discussed above) then consult your doctor as soon as possible. Follow the treatment religiously along with the home remedies. This way, you can control your disease from getting worse and live a normal life. 

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