Osteoarthritis of the hand is very common, and tends to affect those who are aged 60 and over, who often report significant pain and disability. Simple daily activities such as dressing and bathing can be severely impacted, and evidence shows that patients feel little can be done. It has been reported that few patients will approach their GP as they think it nothing can be done
A study was conducted where patients, who had clinically diagnosed osteoarthritis of the hands, were either exposed to interventions involving both advice and hand exercises, or no intervention at all.. Education involved general information on looking after the joints of the hands, and the use of analgesia. Self management approaches were also offered to manage pain and goal setting. Hand exercises involved stretching, mobilisation and strengthening exercises. Both groups were followed up at 3, 6 and 12 months after starting the programme. There was a clear indicator that those who received advice, management concepts and hands exercises, reported less pain and better function.