Arthritis In the Fingers

This is how osteoarthritis can affect the joints in the hands and fingers.

  • Typically, the middle joints of the finger and the end joints - the ones closest to the nails - are affected.
  • The joint at the base of the thumb is commonly affected.
  • Bony growths tend to occur in the above-mentioned finger joints. The growths may first appear in 1 or 2 fingers, then spread. Bony growths at the end finger joints are called Heberden's nodes. Heberden's and Bouchard's Nodes Heberden's nodes most often occur in women and are common within families. When growths occur at the middle joints, they are called Bouchard's nodes.
  • The growths sometimes occur suddenly, causing swelling, redness, and aching in the affected joints. However, some people can develop nodes and never have symptoms.
  • The finger joints may weaken, making it difficult to grasp or hold onto objects.
  • Motion of the fingers is usually restricted.
  • Morning stiffness that lasts less than 30 minutes after rising is common.


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