Wear and tear is a very common condition as you get older, particularly in your thumb and fingers.
What is wear and tear in your thumb and fingers?
Wear and tear in your thumb and fingers describes the degenerative changes that occur over time which leads to conditions such as osteoarthritis and begins with damage to the cartilage followed by a thickening of a bone and destruction of the surface of the joint. In the late stages the joint cartilage in the affected joint is not only damaged but completely wears away and disappears causing the exposed bones to rub on each other.
What causes wear and tear in your thumb and fingers?
Wear and tear occurs over time thought it can occur due to repetitive use of one particular joint and in some people wear and tear can be worsened due to previous damage to the joint such as fracture damage, ligament injuries, and poor development of the bone.
Fingertip joints, middle joints of the finger and joints at the base of the thumb are all common areas for wear and tear.
What are the symptoms of wear and tear in your thumb and fingers?
There are a few different symptoms of wear and tear in your thumb and fingers including:
- Reduced hand range of movement
- Stiffness in the fingers and thumbs
How is wear and tear in your thumb and fingers diagnosed?
Your physiotherapist can carry out a full hand assessment to diagnose your wear and tear. A scan such as an X-ray or MRI can also confirm if there is any wear and tear in the joint and how severe the degeneration is.
What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for wear and tear in your thumb and fingers?
Depending on the severity of your wear and tear and your symptoms, different treatment options are available. Your physiotherapist will be able to fully assess you including a subjective and objective assessment and provide you with a tailor made treatment plan.
Treatment may include:
- Heat therapy to reduce stiffness and pain
- Soft tissue massage to reduce tension and aches in joints
- Advice regarding braces for your wrist and supports that may decrease your pain during daily activities
- Range of movement exercises to maintain a good range of movement
- Strengthening exercises to protect the joint from stresses and shocks and improve grip
- Dexterity and co-ordination exercises
- Education and advice regarding activity modification such as carrying heavy objects and lifting
Benefit of physiotherapy for wear and tear in your thumb and fingers?
There are several benefits of physiotherapy for wear and tear in your thumb and fingers. The particular benefits you feel from physiotherapy will depend on your original symptoms and treatment goals.
Our physiotherapy aims are to:
- Reduce pain
- Maintain hand and wrist function
- Improve hand strength
- Decreased stiffness
- Improved range of movement