Mar 14, 2006

Jennifer Gremmels

Don’t Let Hand Arthritis Slow Down Your Golf Game


Rosemont, Ill. - Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, but it can really affect your golf game when it strikes the wrists, hands and fingers. The American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) encourages individuals to educate themselves on the signs and symptoms of arthritis of the hand and seek treatment from a qualified hand specialist. Arthritis pain does not have to be permanent, and a hand specialist can get you back on the course sooner than you might think.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease in which the cushioning cartilage that covers the bone surfaces at joints begins to wear out. It may be caused by simple "wear and tear" on joints, or it may develop after an injury to a joint. In the hand, osteoarthritis most often develops in three sites: at the base of the thumb, where the thumb and wrist come together, at the middle joint of a finger and at the joint near the finger tip. The wrist may also develop arthritis, particularly if an injury had occurred in the past. How do you know if you are suffering from osteoarthritis?  Symptoms may include:

  • Stiffness
  • Pain with pinch or grip
  • Swelling and tenderness
  • Enlarged joints, nodule at the joints or cysts

What can you do if you are suffering from the symptoms of hand arthritis? Go to Find a Hand Surgeon to locate a hand specialist near you. Your physician will recommend a treatment designed to relieve pain and restore function.

“Treatment decisions are based on the type of arthritis you have, its progression and its impact on your life,” said Jan C. Bax, MD, PhD, an ASSH member from Appleton, Wisconsin. “Anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen may help reduce swelling and relieve pain; prescription medications or steroid (cortisone) injections may be recommended.”

Your physician may refer you to a physical or occupational therapist because changing the way you do things with your hands may help relieve pain and pressure. In some cases, surgery may be the best option to relieve pain and restore useful motion.

About Hand Surgeons
Hand surgeons have received specialized additional training in the treatment of hand problems in addition to their board certified specialty training in orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery, or general surgery. To become members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, hand surgeons must have completed a full year of such additional training and must pass a rigorous certifying examination. Many hand surgeons also have expertise with problems of the elbow, arm, and shoulder. Some hand surgeons treat only children, some treat only adults, and some treat both. Common problems treated include carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, wrist pain, sports injuries of the hand and wrist, fractures of the hand, wrist, and forearm, and trigger fingers. Other problems treated by hand surgeons include arthritis, nerve and tendon injuries, and congenital limb differences (birth defects). Not all problems treated by a hand surgeon need surgery. Hand surgeons often recommend non-surgical treatments, such as medication, splints, therapy, and injections. Hand surgeons are specialists devoted to hand care.

About the ASSH
The mission of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) is to advance the science and practice of hand surgery through education, research and advocacy on behalf of patients and practitioners. Founded in 1946, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand is the oldest medical specialty society in the United States devoted entirely to continuing medical education related to hand surgery.