Osteoarthritis (osteoarthrosis) is a disease of the small hand joints occurring in the case of increased joint loading and wasting in elderly people, as well as after injuries. Post-traumatic osteoarthritis mainly occurs in patients after an injury of a particular joint, possibly even experienced many years ago (see fractures of the hand bones). This disease affects younger people.
Most commonly, osteoarthritis affects the base of the thumb and finger bones which are deformed, and form inflammation and small cysts in the skin, particularly in the joints of the finger tips. If the arthritis affects the thumb base, a swelling, pain when performing circular movements occurs, as well as an inability to hold anything heavier than a morning cup of tea. In the long-term, steroid (anti-inflammatory) injections can help to alleviate this disease, but the final treatment method is surgery.
Duration of the surgery: depends on the extent of surgery.
Anaesthesia: regional or general.
Treatment: in an out-patient setting.
Convalescence: following the surgery, local discomfort and pain may occur, which is well controlled with analgesic tablets. Wounds heal in 2 weeks. The wound should be dressed 2 to 3 times a week. After two weeks the skin sutures are removed. During the postoperative period an orthosis will be necessary, as well as arm ergotherapy and movement training in the fingers.
Result: after such surgery the pain is reduced radically and clasp force increases, however it will never be the same as before the disease.