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Metacarpo-phalangeal Joint (PIP) joint

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease which causes the cartilage surrounding your bones to wear away. Cartilage is tough but flexible and surrounds the ends of your bones allowing them to move over one another forming a joint. When the cartilage wears away bone rubs on bone which gives rise to a painful inflamed joint.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptoms of OA in the MCP joint are pain in the area on movement and swelling around the joint.

People may also experience:

  • difficulty gripping/ weakness
  • Stiffness
  • Enlarged appearance of the joint
  • Limited movement
  • Altered positing of the fingers

What tests might be done?

You may need to have X-Rays of your finger to allow the doctor to see which areas are affected by arthritis.

Sometimes CT scans (also known as CAT scans) may be undertaken to give the doctor a more in-depth view of the finger to diagnose the problem.

Blood tests may be required to rule out any other cause for finger pain such as rheumatoid arthritis.

What is the treatment?

Non-Operative Treatments:

  • Medication: such as non steroidal anti-inflammatories e.g. Ibuprofen can help with swelling/ inflammation and pain killers can help alleviate pain.
  • Splinting: Sometimes splints can be used to protect and support the joint to help alleviate some of the pain.
  • Joint protection advice/ aids: Sometimes advice on how to protect your joints throughout every day tasks can help to alleviate symptoms.
  • Steroid Injections: Localised injections directly into the affected joint to help reduce inflammation and pain.

Operative Treatments:

  • Joint replacements: special prosthetics/ false joints are put in place of the arthritic joint to enable less painful movement.

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