One of the earliest and most visible signs of osteoarthritis (OA) are bony bumps or nodules on the small joints of the fingers. These “bumpy fingers” are composed of growths that are thought to be the body’s attempt to repair joint damage caused by the wearing down of cartilage. The nodes that form on the top of the joints closest to the fingernail, are called Heberden’s nodes. The nodes that form on the sides of the middle joints, are called Bouchard’s nodes.
The bumps can initially be painful, but usually lessen with time. When the bump is bigger on one side, it can cause the joint to twist. Treatment for “bumpy fingers” may include anti-inflammatory medications, supplements such as glucosamine and/or chondroitin and wearing a splint to decrease the pressure that may contribute to the twisting.
As over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines such as aspirin or naproxen sodium (name brand Aleve) can have side effects; you should discuss any medications with your health care provider. Supplements may contain ingredients that can cause an allergic reaction or react with other medications and should be discussed with your health care provider as well.
Splints designed to rest or help straighten the fingers can be useful to reduce the pain and stress on them. Splints are most effective when used early on- before the deformity is permanent. It’s best to check with your health care provider or a hand specialist to determine if splinting is right for you.Like what you’ve read? Click here to subscribe to the blog!
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