Non-Surgical Hand Treatment For Arthritis

Georgia Hand, Shoulder, and Elbow

Hand arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects the joints in the hand, including the knuckles, wrists, and fingers. It is caused by inflammation of the joint surfaces.

Symptoms of hand arthritis include pain and stiffness in the affected area, swelling of the joints, and limited range of motion.

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Non-surgical treatments for hand arthritis typically include a combination of pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medications, and home remedies, such as exercise or splints, to support weak joints. However, if these don’t provide the relief you need, surgery could also be an option to consider.

If you like to discuss which treatment option is best for you, our orthopedic specialists at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow are ready to help. Our physicians can provide you with effective hand care in Marietta and Atlanta, GA. Contact us today to book an appointment!

What Causes Hand Arthritis?

There are over 100 different types of arthritis. The most common ones that affect the hands are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis. It develops over time with wear and tear. 

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can affect multiple joints simultaneously. With this condition, the body’s own immune system attacks the lining of the joints, causing damage.

Non-Surgical Treatment for Hand Arthritis

Non-surgical treatments can help you delay or avoid procedures, such as hand surgery or joint replacement surgery. They are an excellent way to slow down arthritis, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain. These are usually recommended for milder cases of hand arthritis.

Some treatments for hand arthritis can be done at home, while others are performed by a medical professional. Some of these non-surgical treatments are listed below.

At-Home Treatments for Hand Arthritis

There are several ways of treating hand arthritis at home. Try to combine as many as possible to gain the greatest benefits.


Try giving your arthritic joints a rest from time to time. Break long tasks into smaller intervals with rests in between.

Apply Heat

Applying heat to your joints warms up the synovial fluid. This helps to ease stiffness and improves flexibility.

Lifestyle Changes

You can reduce a lot of strain on your hand joints by using some specialized products to aid you. Consider some examples below:

  • Clothes with zippers instead of buttons.
  • Longer zipper pulls or zipper pulls with a loop so you can insert your finger to pull.
  • Use lighter tools and equipment in the kitchen and garden.
  • Slip-on shoes.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

You can reduce inflammation in the body through your diet. An anti-inflammatory diet can be beneficial for those with rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis arthritis. It will reduce the amount of inflammation throughout your body. An anti-inflammatory diet may include the following:

  • Eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. (Some may need to avoid gluten in wheat)
  • Avoid processed foods, refined sugar, and fried food.

Physician Treatments for Hand Arthritis

If home treatments are not enough to decrease pain, your doctor may recommend some treatments to help. Some of the treatments your physician may recommend are listed below.

Physical Therapy

Hand therapy is a very effective treatment against the symptoms of arthritis. A hand therapist can teach you how to exercise your hands, wrists, and fingers. These will help strengthen the joints, improve dexterity, and prevent your joints from getting worse.


Splints can be used to stabilize an arthritic joint in the hand, wrist, or individual knuckles. Some splints can be worn at night to help reduce hand and wrist pain that could interrupt sleep.

Compression gloves or sleeves can also help. These provide some support while allowing more movement.


Oral and topical medications are available to help relieve arthritis pain. Your doctor may prescribe the following:

  • Oral medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
  • Topical pain medication: These include over-the-counter and prescription creams, balms, gels, or patches.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) can be helpful in reducing hand pain caused by arthritis. It works by sending weak electrical signals to distract the nerves from pain.


Injections may be used for treating arthritis when other treatments become less effective. The different types of injections available are as follows:

  • Steroid injections: Also known as cortisone injections, they can help reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain. Their long-term use is not recommended because they can weaken tendons and ligaments.
  • Viscosupplementation: This treatment involves injecting a lubricating substance, called hyaluronic acid, into the arthritic joint. It may be used if the arthritis is affecting the base of the thumb.
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections: This relatively new treatment is used to reduce pain and possibly repair damaged tissue.

Get Professional Hand Treatment

Consulting an orthopedic physician can help you to find solutions for hand arthritis. They will work together with you to help you resume your everyday activities.

At Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow, we offer professional treatment for many hand and wrist conditions. Our specialists will assess your situation to identify suitable treatment methods to give you the pain relief you deserve.

Contact our experts today if you need hand arthritis treatment in Marietta and Atlanta, GA. We are ready to help!

Medically reviewed by

Randall Alexander, MD

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Plastic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon