Heberden’s Nodes

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Bony bumps on the finger joint closest to the fingernail are called Heberden’s nodes. Bony bumps on the middle joint of the finger are known as Bouchard’s nodes.

Bony bumps are also common at the base of the thumb. These bumps do not have a nickname, but the joint is called the CMC or carpometacarpal joint. The name comes from the bone of the wrist (carpal) and the bone of the thumb (metacarpal).

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Heberden’s nodes typically develop in middle age, beginning either with a chronic swelling of the affected joints or the sudden painful onset of redness, numbness, and loss of manual dexterity. This initial inflammation and pain eventually subsides, and the patient is left with a permanent bony outgrowth that often skews the fingertip sideways. Bouchard’s nodes may also be present; these are similar bony growths in the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joints (middle joints of the fingers), and are also associated with osteoarthritis.

Heberden’s nodes are more common in women than in men, and there seems to be a genetic component involved in predisposition to the condition.

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Hand and Finger Arthritis

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a painful inflammatory disease that causes swelling, stiffness, joint destruction, and deformity. This autoimmune disease has an effect on the cells that coat and lubricate joints (synovial tissue).

Osteoarthritis (the “wear and tear” arthritis”) may often affect just one joint even though it can affect multiple joints. Rheumatoid arthritis, though, typically affects multiple joints and  usually happens symmetrically. For instance, RA may affect  the same joint group on both sides of the body.

What are the symptoms of Hand and Finger Arthritis?

The wrist joints and the finger joints are common targets of RA. With hand and finger RA, you may experience the following:

  • Hand pain, finger pain, swelling, and stiffness
  • Hand joints and finger joints that are warm and tender to the touch
  • The same joints affected symmetrically (both wrists and fingers on both hands)
  • Deformities in finger joints
  • Carpal tunnel symptoms such as numbness and tingling of the hands
  • Flu-like feeling
  • Fatigue that is not easily resolved
  • Pain and stiffness that last for more than an hour upon arising

What causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Scientists are unsure about the causes of RA. They do know that RA affects about 1.3 million Americans and occurs in all racial and ethnic groups. About two to three times as many women suffer from rheumatoid arthritis as men. Some rheumatoid arthritis research points to the following factors as possibly influencing rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Genetic factors.
  • Environmental factors such as a viral or bacterial infection.
  • Hormones. RA tends to improve with pregnancy. Breastfeeding, and the postpartum period (the time after delivery), however, may aggravate rheumatoid symptoms.

What is a swan-neck deformity?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a common cause of a swan-neck deformity.

With a swan-neck deformity, the base of the finger and the outermost joint bend, while the middle joint straightens. Over time, this imbalance of the finger joints can result in the crooked swan-neck position. (True swan-neck deformity does not occur in the thumb).

A swan-neck deformity can make it almost impossible to bend the affected finger normally; it can make it difficult to button shirts, grip a glass, or pinch with the fingers.

By examining the hand and fingers, a rheumatologist can diagnose a swan-neck deformity and determine appropriate treatment, which may include:

  • Finger splints or ring splints
  • Surgery to realign the joints or fuse the joints for better function

What is a boutonniere deformity?

Boutonniere deformity, also called buttonhole deformity, can occur as a result of rheumatoid arthritis.

With a boutonniere deformity, the middle finger joint will bend toward the palm while the outer finger joint may bend opposite the palm. This deformity may be the result of chronic inflammation of the finger’s middle joint.

Treatment for boutonniere deformity may include splinting to keep the middle joint extended. Surgery may be needed.

Get Professional opinion and management about your Finger Arthritis Today. Call us +65 97731458 to schedule for an appointment.