Comprehensive Hand Surgery Center
Board Certified Hand and Upper Extremity Surgeons located in West End, Richmond, VA
Are pain and stiffness keeping you from doing the things you love? The symptoms are a common sign of arthritis, which is a specialty of the trained team at Comprehensive Hand Surgery Center in the West End of Richmond, Virginia. With board-certified hand surgeon David Glapern, MD, on staff, the practice offers accurate diagnosis and treatment so you can return to day-to-day activities and hobbies. Find out how they can help you by calling the office or booking a consultation online today.
Arthritis Q & A
What is arthritis?
A common, treatable condition, arthritis is an inflammation of your joints. The surfaces of all the joints in your body are lined with cartilage, a smooth surface that cushions your bones and reduces friction. Arthritis most commonly occurs when cartilage wears out and your bones rub against each other, causing pain, swelling, and inflammation.
Arthritis affects your hands, fingers, and elbows, though one of the most common places is the carpometacarpal joint in your hand. This joint is found at the base of your palm, on the thumb side. If you have arthritis here, you’ll likely find it painful to open jars, turn a key in a door, or perform activities that require a strong grip.
How is arthritis diagnosed?
At Comprehensive Hand Surgery Center, Dr. Galpern begins by taking a complete medical history. During your physical exam, he checks your joints for redness, swelling, and warmth. He may ask you to perform certain movements so he can assess your range of motion.
To complete your diagnosis, Dr. Galpern may recommend lab tests of your blood or urine, or diagnostic imaging tests, including:
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
You might be asked to provide a sample of your joint fluid for testing. To take a sample, he’ll numb the area, then withdraw a small amount of fluid with a needle.
How is arthritis treated?
With a conservative approach to arthritis treatment, the team at Comprehensive Hand Surgery Center creates a treatment plan that’s right for your condition. Dr. Galpern generally only recommends treatment when pain and weakness make it difficult for you to perform day-to-day activities.
Various forms of treatment are used for arthritis. Dr. Galpern may recommend:
- Splint: helps to rest your joint and relieve inflammation
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): oral medications or creams that target pain and inflammation
- Corticosteroids: medications, such as prednisone and cortisone, that are injected to reduce inflammation
Depending on your condition, you may benefit from joint replacement surgery. This involves replacing a worn joint in your thumb, wrist, or elbow with a new, man-made one. Other surgical options include fusion and joint elimination.
Dr. Galpern discusses whether these treatments are right for you based on your individual symptoms, overall health, and expectations.
If you’re ready to explore the right treatment plan to help you enjoy a more active life, call or schedule a consultation online today with Comprehensive Hand Surgery Center.