Osteoarthritis of the Finger Joints

Osteoarthritis of the Finger Joints

The pain from an osteoarthritic finger joint can diminish over time as it becomes stiffer.

If the pain persists at a level which requires further treatment then the joint can be injected with cortisone. I tend to do this with an X-ray machine guiding the needle into the joint.

If a joint remains painful despite conservative treatment, the patient can be offered surgical treatment. There are two options. The first is to fuse the 2 bones together. This is good at getting rid of the pain but the joint will not move.

(X-ray of an arthrodesis of the thumb MCP joint)

 

An alternative to fusing a painful osteoarthritic finger joint is to replace it with an artificial joint. These joints are usually good at relieving the pain, will give movement, although how much is variable and like any joint replacement will have a limited life so that over time the joint can become stiffer and may become painful requiring further surgery. Other potential complications are infection, dislocation, malalignment of the finger and limited movement.

(Lateral and AP X-rays of an osteoarthritic PIP joint)

  

(Lateral and AP X-rays after replacement of the joint with an Avanta PIP joint)

  

This lady had the PIP joint of her index finger replaced 6 weeks before this photograph was taken. It shows the maximum extension and flexion she can achieve.

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