The Relation Between Rheumatoid Arthritis And Hand Pain


Many of us might be suffering from pain, inflammation, stiffness, and swelling in the wrists and knuckles of our hands and this can be due to rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It can make simple tasks like turning a key or opening a jar difficult. RA is a chronic systemic autoimmune disorder. The symptoms of RA appear in your hands when the immune system of your body wrongly attacks the joint tissues in the thumb, fingers, and wrist, etc.

RA And Hand Function 

As per the rheumatology experts, about 90% of the people suffering from RA will have symptoms in at least one hand joint. Due to the symptoms, grip strength, dexterity, and the ability to pinch things between the thumb and fingers will be affected. The grip strength can become even weaker when the level of inflammation is high.

Due to the joint damage from rheumatoid arthritis, you can experience problems with hand function. The damage from RA can weaken the tendons leading to deformation or malalignment of the joints. A significant amount of damage can occur to the joints early on in the process of the disease and therefore it is important to have early diagnosis and treatment.

Hand Joints That Are Mostly Affected By RA 

There are 27 joints in the human hand and out of them some are most likely to show signs of rheumatoid arthritis. These are:

  • The metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints. These are the large knuckles where the thumb and then fingers meet the hand.
  • The middle knuckles or the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joints.
  • The joints of the wrist that connects the eight carpal bones of the wrist with each other and the bones of the forearm, which includes the midcarpal joint, carpometacarpal joint, radiocarpal joint, and intercarpal joints.

The joints that are closest to the tips of the thumb and the fingers, the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joints are not much likely to be affected by RA. If these joints are affected, it will be only after the symptoms appear in the PIP or MCP joints. The DIP joints are more commonly affected by osteoarthritis than by rheumatoid arthritis.

Hope that the above discussion has cleared the air regarding hand pain and rheumatoid arthritis. The changes that are happening to the joints of your hand can be felt and seen. If you experience any type of pain in your hand joints, you should visit a rheumatic pain treatment clinic and seek the help of an expert rheumatologist to ensure early diagnosis and treatment.