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Osteoarthritis, Learn About It Here!

August 04 | 2023
Posted by Sharon Tierney

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Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the joint affecting the articular cartilage and bony structures and tissues involved.

It starts with changes to the surrounding tissues of the joint and in advanced stages it affects the articular cartilage thereby reducing and narrowing the joint space causing structural bony changes.


Signs and symptoms of Osteoarthritis in hand and wrist:

  • Swelling of the joints or knuckles.
  • Morning stiffness in fingers and wrist.
  • Pain with movements.
  • Difficulty with gripping and handling objects.
  • Decreased strength.
  • Enlarged joints or deformed joints in more than one or more area.
  • Heberden’s nodes, and Bouchard’s nodes/ hard or bony lumps on the fingers in more than 3 to 4 joints or knuckles.

Risk Factors:

  • Commonly seen in females.
  • Age over 40.
  • Menopause
  • Family history.
  • Previous injury to the hand and wrist.
  • Work or occupation related repetitive usage of the joints.

Diagnostic imaging:

X ray, MRI, CT scan would show the changes in the joint and the articular cartilage.

Management of Osteoarthritis:

  • Analgesics
  • Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs.
  • Intra articular steroid injection.
  • Arthrodesis, fusion of the joint.
  • Arthroplasty, Joint replacement.


Evidences and studies show that physiotherapy does decrease the impact of OA on joints and thereby improving the strength and function of the joint. Physiotherapy management includes:


Joint Protection


Hand Exercises


Laser and Ultrasound Machine

  • Joint protection and advices on splints and braces, and suggestion on adaptive equipment to make function easier.
  • Heat wraps/ paraffin wax for pain relief and joint function.
  • Laser and ultra sound for reducing swelling and for soft tissue healing.
  • Hand exercises involving strengthening and stretching to improve joint function and reduction of pain.
  • Joint mobilization and soft tissue techniques to reduce pain and to improve mobility and flexibility of the joint.

Need some help?

Your concerns are best managed by a health care professional. Here at PhysioNow, we have many highly knowledgeable physiotherapists that can assist you with your issue. If you think you may have osteoarthritis or are diagnosed with it, book with PhysioNow today for your first assessment and treatment!

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