Rheumatoid arthritis can be extremely painful and make every day activities become increasingly difficult and frustrating to deal with. It can strike at any age, but most commonly begins near the age of 40. There still is not a single cause that can be pinpointed, nor any guaranteed prevention methods. In fact, it usually isn't even detected until symptoms are already visible.
There are medications available that can help relieve the pain and there are some that can help stop the rapid progression of this disease; however, rheumatoid often causes major deformities of the hand, making mobility severely restricted. In these cases, sometimes the best answer is hand surgery.
Signs of rheumatoid arthritis, which most commonly occurs in the hands but can also affect the feet and other joints, usually begin with noticeable inflammation of the area. Most people find themselves waking up feeling stiffness or pain that lasts for up to an hour.
As arthritis progresses, the joints continue to deteriorate, making movement increasingly difficult and eventually causing deformation. The fingers often become twisted at odd angles although there is no one single pattern that may occur.
For some patients, if caught early on medication may be enough to treat symptoms; however, very severe and late stage rheumatoid arthritis can often benefit from surgery. Many people are able to return back to their former jobs or continue to do hobbies they enjoyed in the past that have become too painful or difficult to continue due to complications, such as art and exercise.
If you find that arthritis is adversely affecting your life and causing great physical pain as well as emotional distress, you may want to seek a consultation about possibly undergoing operation.
Hand surgery will vary depending on your specific problems or deformity, but commonly the tendons will be repaired, reconnected back properly so the fingers and hand can regain normal functioning and movement once again. If the joints have been significantly damaged, these may be replaced with prosthetics to improve aesthetic appearance as well as functionality.
Many patients find that their pain has been greatly reduced following procedure, the appearance of the hand is much more natural, and its functions are restored to a much better condition.
There are risks and complications involved with surgery, including infection, bleeding, blood clots, loss of sensation, and no improvement in the condition. Since this procedure has the potential to decrease mobility further, you should carefully consider all options. Most patients will find operation provides some degree of relief, much of the results depend on the preexisting state of the tendons and joints.
Surgeons differ on when during the progression of surgery is best performed, so you may want to consult with one as soon as you are diagnosed and research a few different views before making your own, well-informed decision.
Your general practitioner may be able to offer you referrals to specialists, and you will most likely want to visit with several before choosing which you feel most comfortable with.