Advanced Physical Therapy

Hand Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis an affect any joint in the body, but it is most visible when it strikes the hands and fingers. Each hand has 27 bones plus the two bones of the forearm that help define the wrist. Joints are created whenever two or more bones come together. OA is the breakdown of cartilage, the substance between the joints. The bones begin to rub together, causing pain, swelling, and loss of motion. There can also be formation of cysts or bony outgrowths. These are called osteophytes or nodes.

Hand arthritis is common in the:

  • wrist
  • basilar joint that connects your thumb and wrist
  • fingertips (DIP joint)
  • middle knuckles of the fingers (PIP joint)


Certified Hand Therapy Treatment Plan: After careful evaluation by the physical therapist, the first step in treating this condition is to reduce pain and inflammation. Treatments may include warm soaks, paraffin wax, massage, ultrasound, and gentle range of motion to maintain flexibility.


After your initial prescription for therapy is completed, your physician and therapist will decide if you need to continue therapy or if you will be discharged to a home exercise program.

This information is provided as a learning resource for the benefit of our patients. It is NOT INTENDED to replace personal consultation with your medical professionals.

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