If you’re living with arthritis, you know you’re not alone. Millions of Americans experience the pain, discomfort and physical limitations from arthritis. But knowing that you are among such a large group is small comfort. You need a doctor who can bring some relief for your symptoms so that you can get back to the activities you love most.
Dr. Frank Campanile is a fellowship-trained hand surgeon and leading Denver arthritis surgeon. He has the skills and experience to evaluate your condition and provide you with solutions. Contact us today so that we can evaluate your symptoms and develop a recommended treatment plan.
Arthritis is not a single condition but instead manifests in several forms. Each type of arthritis affects the hand in different ways. When you visit us, we will review prior diagnoses and evaluate the current condition of your hands to assess your treatment options.
Sometimes referred to as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. A person suffering from osteoarthritis experiences degeneration of the cartilage in the joints of the hand (generally, the joints of the fingers and the base of the thumb). Symptoms include:
- Swelling, redness and pain in the joints of the fingers, wrists and/or thumbs
- The appearance of bony knobs on finger joints
- Stiffness in the fingers
- Inability to perform gripping and twisting motions, such as opening jars, with comfort
Commonly known as RA, this is a condition affecting the synovial tissue, which lubricates and lines joints. This tissue becomes swollen, stretching and displacing ligaments, tendons and other support structures in the hand. As a result, joint deformity and erosion of the joint cartilage and bone occur. Symptoms include:
- Stiffness, swelling and pain
- Wrist and knuckle joints that feel hot and look red
- Deformities of the fingers
- Prominent bones in the wrist
- Numbness or tingling in the hand due to carpal tunnel syndrome
Related to the skin condition psoriasis, this type of arthritis often causes pain in the distal joints (those closest to the fingernails). Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis may get better or worse over time. Symptoms include:
- Tenderness, pain and swelling in the joints or over the tendons of the hand
- Swelling in the fingers
- Reduced range of motion
- Changes to the appearance or texture of the fingernails
Dr. Campanile’s Approach
For less advanced forms of arthritis, a combination of non-surgical therapies may provide adequate relief. These include the use of neoprene splints, anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injections.
Patients who do not respond well to non-surgical options or whose arthritis is in an advanced stage may be candidates for surgical reconstruction. Pain relief is usually the primary objective of hand surgery for arthritis, in addition to restoring function and range of motion. Before recommending a surgical procedure, Dr. Campanile will perform a detailed review of your symptoms and your hand anatomy, while also taking into account your level of pain. Common surgical procedures to treat arthritis include:
- Joint Fusion: Recommended when the deterioration of bone is severe, fusion involves removal of the arthritic surface along with permanent joining of the bones on both sides of the affected joint. Obviously, this eliminates the ability to move the joint, but the damaged surfaces have been removed so they can no longer cause symptoms.
- Joint Reconstruction: When possible, Dr. Campanile prefers to reconstruct the joint surface so that the joint remains operable after surgery. During a reconstruction, he removes rough areas of bone in the joint, replacing this degenerated portion with soft tissue (such as a tendon) or a joint replacement implant. These implants are constructed with durable materials such as ceramics or long-wearing metal.
There’s no reason to continue living with the pain and limitations of arthritis. Call our Denver arthritis clinic today at 303-345-7476 or contact us online to schedule your appointment.