Hand therapy provides treatment to reduce the symptoms and impact of arthritis on your daily life, and to protect your joints so they can stay healthy and strong.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are common types of arthritis seen in the hand and wrist. Osteoarthritis often affects the thumb and the small finger joints (DIPs, PIPs) and rheumatoid arthritis can affect the wrist and knuckles of the hand (MCPs). Conditions such as gout and psoriatic arthritis can also present in the hand. Arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, weakness, and deformity that can make it hard to continue with normal activity.
Find one of our hand clinics near you.
We have clinics in Merivale, Papanui, Moorhouse Ave, Halswell and Kaiapoi
There is a lot that can be done to help joints with arthritis! Hand therapy provides advice about joint protection, specific exercises to stabilise and strengthen the joints, and splints or supports to make activity and sleep more comfortable. A referral to a specialist can be made if appropriate. Surgery for arthritis in the hand can be very effective and hand therapists work closely with the surgeon to ensure optimal recovery. Read more below and see our Information sheets and resources for more information about arthritis and how it is treated.
Osteoarthritis is the most common. It is a normal process of change in the body as we age. Where your bones meet at a joint, cartilage covers the ends of the bones providing a smooth surface and cushioning for movement and loading. Osteoarthritis develops as the cartilage is not adequately replenished. This can cause stiffness, pain, and weakness.
Thumb arthritis is very common. It will affect one in four women and one in 12 men. It usually occurs in the joint at the base of the thumb, known as the basal joint or 1st CMC joint. The first symptom of thumb arthritis is usually pain when you grip or pinch. Other symptoms of thumb arthritis include:
- Swelling, aching, discomfort, or tenderness at the base of the thumb
- limited movement
- an enlarged or bony-looking joint
- loss of thumb strength
Symptom severity may vary over time or day to day. Symptoms can be mild at first and then get worse over time.
If you would like further information please get in touch.
Arthritis can present as pain, stiffness or weakness in your hand. There can sometimes be visible changes in the joints, or changes in the bones when seen on X-ray. Arthritis can be diagnosed by a health professional, including a hand therapist.
Osteoarthritis is a normal process of change in the body as we age. Tendencies toward developing arthritis can be inherited but there are many factors that contribute to how severe arthritis is.
Yes! There is lots that can be done to treat arthritis. Hand therapists provide advice about joint protection, specific exercises to stabilise and strengthen the joints, and splints or supports. Other treatments can include pain management or surgical intervention if required. Other lifestyle factors can help with arthritis such as maintaining a healthy diet and keeping fit.
These information sheets include more details about particular conditions and how they are treated.
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Merivale Hand Clinic
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Rehabilitation of the Hand, Wrist And Elbow
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Our team of 12 hand therapists have undergraduate degrees in physiotherapy or occupational therapy and have all completed a post graduate qualification in hand and upper limb therapy. Together we have a total of over 150 years of experience in hand therapy!