Mornings are torture for some older women: They wake up after a long sleep with stiff and sometimes painful finger joints.
To blame is osteoarthritis, known as polyarticular osteoarthritis when it affects multiple joints.
A natural reaction is to reach for pain relievers. But this is not a long-term solution, says the German Rheumatology Society (DGRh), warning that these medications could harm the cardiovascular system and gastrointestinal tract.
It’s important to see a doctor soon after the first symptoms appear.
Left untreated, polyarticular osteoarthritis of the hands can result in swollen, stiff and deformed finger joints.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in your joints gradually deteriorates. The risk increases with age, and women are much more likely than men to develop it. Genetics can also play a role.
When it’s diagnosed early, there are effective treatments to slow the progression of – but not reverse – polyarticular osteoarthritis of the hands, the DGRh says. In an early stage, daily finger exercises can help keep the joints flexible. In an advanced stage, surgical procedures may be considered.