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Effective Ways to Manage Hand Osteoarthritis Symptoms

The management of hand osteoarthritis typically involves a combination of non-pharmacological and pharmacological interventions. Always consult with a healthcare professional for the most up-to-date information. Here are some evidenced-based approaches for the management of hand osteoarthritis:

Non-Pharmacological Interventions:

  • Exercise Therapy: Specific hand exercises can improve joint function and reduce pain. Range of motion exercises, strengthening exercises, and dexterity exercises may be included.

  • Joint Protection Techniques: Educating patients about joint protection techniques can help minimise strain on affected joints during daily activities.

  • Heat and Cold Therapy: Applying heat or cold to the affected joints may provide symptomatic relief.

Pharmacological Interventions:

  • Topical NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in topical form may be recommended to manage pain and inflammation while minimising systemic side effects.

  • Oral NSAIDs: In some cases, oral NSAIDs may be prescribed for their anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. However, their long-term use may be associated with side effects, and their benefits and risks should be carefully considered.

  • Pain Management: Paracetamol is often used for pain management, especially in cases where NSAIDs are not suitable.

  • Intra-articular Corticosteroid Injections: Injections of corticosteroids directly into the affected joints may provide short-term relief from pain and inflammation.

Assistive Devices:

  • Splints and braces may be recommended to support and stabilise affected joints, particularly during activities that exacerbate symptoms.

Patient Education:

  • Providing education about the nature of osteoarthritis, self-management strategies, and lifestyle modifications can empower patients to better manage their condition.

Weight Management:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight or losing excess weight can help reduce the load on joints, including those in the hands.

It's crucial for healthcare professionals to tailor the management approach to each individual, taking into account the severity of symptoms, patient preferences, and the impact on daily functioning. Regular follow-ups and adjustments to the treatment plan may be necessary. Always consult with a healthcare provider for personalised advice and management strategies.

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