Managing Arthritis in the Hand & Wrist

Arthritis in the hand and wrist is a common condition that affects people of all ages, causing pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Whether you have Osteoarthritis (OA), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), or another form of arthritis, it’s essential to explore various treatment options to alleviate symptoms and improve your quality of life.

A hand therapist plays a crucial role in the treatment of arthritis in the hands, helping patients manage pain, improve mobility, and enhance their overall quality of life. Arthritis in the hands can be a debilitating condition, and a hand therapist’s expertise is invaluable in providing effective care.

The following are just a few arthritic conditions we treat. If you have a question about whether your condition should be treated by one of our hand therapists, call Restored Hope Hand Therapy at (928) 275-2201.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

It is estimated that hands and wrists are affected in 80 to 90 percent of rheumatoid arthritis patients. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues. It affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.


  • Hand and wrist joint pain and stiffness.
  • Loss of range of motion of the hand and wrist.
  • Reduction in hand strength and grip from muscle atrophy.
  • Hand and wrist swelling.
  • Hand and wrist deformity.

Thumb Arthritis (Osteoarthritis)

The thumb base is a common joint affected by arthritis. When the cartilage between the two main bones that comprise the thumb joint degenerates over time, bone on bone contact occurs with activity. Due to the lack of cushion from the cartilage, you may experience pain.


  • Thumb pain.
  • Thumb achiness at rest.
  • Sharp pain with grasping or pinching.
  • The thumb joint may even become enlarged.

Effective Treatment Strategies

Here’s how the experts at Restored Hope Hand Therapy can treat arthritis:

  • Assessment: The first step in treating arthritis is a thorough assessment. We’ll evaluate the extent and type of arthritis in the patient’s hands to help determine the most appropriate treatment plan.
  • Pain Management: We employ various pain management techniques, such as heat and cold therapy, splinting, and modalities like ultrasound or electrical stimulation. These methods help reduce pain and inflammation, making it more manageable for the patient.
  • Range of Motion Exercises: Arthritis can lead to stiffness in the joints. We design personalized exercise programs to improve joint mobility, which may include stretching and range of motion exercises to help maintain or regain flexibility in the hand and fingers.
  • Strengthening Exercises: Strengthening the muscles around the affected joints is crucial for providing support and reducing stress on the arthritic areas. We help guide patients through strengthening exercises that gradually build muscle strength and endurance that they can perform at home.
  • Manual Therapy: Depending on best course of action, we may also use manual techniques, such as joint mobilization, to improve joint function. We’ll use our hands to manipulate and mobilize the affected joints, which can help reduce pain and increase mobility.
  • Patient Education: We enjoy educating patients about their condition, teaching them joint protection techniques and adaptive strategies to minimize stress on their hands. We may also offer advice on lifestyle modifications to reduce the impact of arthritis on daily activities.
  • Custom Splinting: Creating a custom splint to support and immobilize affected joints is one of our specialties. These splints are specifically designed for each patient to alleviate pain and promote functional use of the hands.
  • Assistive Devices: In some cases, we may recommend the use of assistive devices like ergonomic tools, utensils, or adaptive gadgets to make daily tasks easier for patients with hand arthritis.
  • Monitoring and Progress Assessment: We closely monitor the progress of our patients and adjust treatment plans accordingly. We work in collaboration with the patient’s surgeon or other healthcare professionals to ensure comprehensive care for the patient.
  • Surgery Rehabilitation: In cases where surgical intervention is required, we play a pivotal role in post-operative rehabilitation. We help guide patients through exercises and activities to aid recovery and optimize hand function.

A hand therapist’s role in the treatment of arthritis is multifaceted, focusing on relieving pain, improving joint mobility, and enhancing the overall quality of life for patients. Our expertise in assessing and providing tailored treatments makes hand therapists such as those found at Restored Hope Hand Therapy essential in managing hand arthritis effectively. Through a combination of therapeutic techniques and patient education, we empower individuals to regain function and lead more fulfilling lives despite the challenges of arthritis.

Hand & Wrist Therapy Options

At Restored Hope, we will help you to maximize your recovery and develop
individualized-specific therapy programs to offer you the best possible results.
Contact us today to learn about available treatment options.

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