Aggressive nature of hand osteoarthritis

Jun 14, 2007

In just two years, patients with hand osteoarthritis (OA) experienced a significant increase in pain and functional limitations, according to new data presented today at EULAR 2007, the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology in Barcelona, Spain. Statistically significant radiological progression was also detected in 20% of subjects.

OA is the most common form of arthritis. It generally affects older people, especially women and can occur in multiple areas of the hand and wrist, causing pain and stiffness and affecting everyday activities requiring fine motor control and hand grip e.g. writing. Over time, if left untreated, the bones that make up the joint can lose their normal shape, causing further pain and limited motion. However, knowledge about the progression of hand OA and effective therapies to prevent its progression has been lacking.

Led by Dr Stella Botha-Scheepers of Leiden University, The Netherlands, this study followed 172 patients (mean age 60.5 years, 78.5% women) with hand OA (defined by the American College of Rheumatology criteria) for two years, assessing: pain intensity upon lateral pressure in the DIP, IP, PIP and CMC 1 joints on a four-point scale; self-reported hand pain and functional limitations with subscales of the Australian/Canadian Osteoarthritis Hand Index (AUSCAN LK 3.0); and osteophytes and joint space narrowing in the right and left DIP joints, IP joints of the thumbs, PIP joints and CMC 1 joints through standardized radiographs.

Despite a relatively short follow-up period of two years, statistically significant increases in pain intensity on lateral pressure standard response mean (SRM) 0.67), AUSCAN pain scores (SRM 0.25) and AUSCAN function scores (SRM 0.23) occurred. Statistically significant radiological progression was also seen in 20% of patients, in terms of joint space narrowing (SRM 0.34) and osteophytes (SRM 0.35), with progression of osteophytes occurring more often in women and middle-aged patients, and especially in women in an early post-menopausal stage.

Dr Botha-Scheepers commented: “The findings of this study underline the critical need for early, effective intervention in hand OA to prevent irreversible progression, given the dramatic deterioration of clinical and radiological disease status seen in just two years.”

Hand OA tends to appear in a predictable pattern, most commonly affecting the small joints of the fingers and the joint at the base of the thumb. It can be diagnosed by medical examination and X-rays of the hand. Treatment options for arthritis of the hand and wrist include oral medication, injections, splinting and surgery.

Source: European League Against Rheumatism

Explore further: Flu season, early again, hitting hard in South and Midwest

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ig Nobel winner: Using pork to stop nosebleeds

Sep 19, 2014

There's some truth to the effectiveness of folk remedies and old wives' tales when it comes to serious medical issues, according to findings by a team from Detroit Medical Center.

Biotech firm's GM mosquitoes to fight dengue in Brazil

Aug 27, 2014

It's a dry winter day in southeast Brazil, but a steamy tropical summer reigns inside the labs at Oxitec, where workers are making an unusual product: genetically modified mosquitoes to fight dengue fever.

Recommended for you

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

18 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

18 hours ago

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

18 hours ago

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

Discovery of genes that predispose a severe form of COPD

21 hours ago

A study by Ramcés Falfán-Valencia, researcher at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER), found that the mestizo Mexican population has a number of variations in certain genes that predispose ...

On the environmental trail of food pathogens

22 hours ago

Tracking one of the deadliest food contamination organisms through produce farms and natural environments alike, Cornell microbiologists are showing how to use big datasets to predict where the next outbreak could start.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.