The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons estimates that one person in five has at least one joint affected by arthritis. Arthritis in wrists, hands and fingers makes simple tasks such as opening a jar or turning a door key painful. Symptoms of arthritis in fingers may include inflamed knuckles that feel hot, swelling in finger joints, grating when fingers are flexed or small cysts on end finger joints. For many people, home remedies are easy, effective and inexpensive.
Home Finger Therapy
Start with simple finger exercises to loosen stiff joints. Squeeze a soft rubber or foam ball in your hand. Or hold your hand in front of yourself with fingers spread open and try to bend each finger individually toward your palm and up again. Toy shops carry soft balls made to soak up water. Fill a sink or pan with warm water and gently squeeze the toy underwater.
Wear gloves for cleaning chores. Arthritic fingers may be numb and not feel hot or cold cleansers that can inflame joints and fingertips. Use therapeutic or driving gloves for winter driving because they protect fingers from cold and provide support for finger tendons and ligaments. Always use outdoor gloves for garden chores because chores and tools easily injure knuckles.
Putting painful fingers in warm water eases swelling and stiff joints. Applying alternate hot and cold packs helps some joints, too. Ask your doctor about over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Some are effective for headache relief but not effective for arthritic joint pain.
Try joint salves and lotions containing pain relievers for sore joints. Put on the lotion or salve and then slip on cotton gloves while watching television or walking the dog. Gloves keep fingers warm so the medicated ointment is better absorbed by joints.
Simplify tasks for sore fingers. Ask your pharmacist for non-childproof caps. Buy scissors and other household tools with ergonomic or cushion handles. Select clothing with snaps or hook-and-loop fasteners in place of small buttons. Put decorative key chains on jacket zippers for easy gripping.
Replace round doorknobs with door levers. Change narrow light switches to rocker switches or motion sensor switches. When walking the dog, use collars with quick-release snaps or breakaway collars instead of metal buckles. For many people, finger arthritis makes them feel clumsy, as if they are wearing gloves for daily chores. Choose tools, foods and appliances suited for dexterity limitations.