Dealing with Heberden’s nodes
Heberden’s nodes are bony swelling of the joints near the fingertip. The bony swellings can be caused by osteoarthritis. The finger joint becomes deformed or crooked due to softening of the cartilage and starts disintegrating or wear away. The cartilage eventually becomes coarse and incapable of protecting the bones. The bone starts rubbing against each other, destroys the existing bone and cause pain. As the cartilage continues to wear out, new bone will grow in the form of node.
Heberden’s node is due to calcific spurs called osteophytes. They form on the articular cartilage due to repeated trauma or injury at the joint. They are the symptoms of osteoarthritis or hypertrophic arthritis. Women are more susceptible to this condition than in men.
- Small outgrowth of bones can be seen in the knuckle close to the fingernail.
- The finger may twist or looks crooked with the formation of the nodes
- Loss of motion or reduced range of movement
- Swelling and stiffness at the affected area
- Difficulty performing task such as gripping or pinching
- Give the affected finger plenty of rest. Avoid performing activities that cause pain on the affected area for fast healing of the condition.
- Apply ice on the affected joint to lessen the swelling and the pain. Place ice cubes in a plastic bag and wrap it using a towel or a cloth before placing to the area.
- Apply heat in the area in the form of a hot compress. Soak face cloth in hot water, wring out excess water and place the face cloth on the affected area to lessen the spasms and the stiffness of the joint.
- Apply splint on the area to prevent unnecessary movement and further cause irritation on the joint and delays the healing.
- Fish oil or omega-3 has anti-inflammatory property, lessen the inflammation and the pain in the finger and in any areas in the body due to osteoarthritis.
- Seek the help of the physical therapist for some rehabilitation exercises to strengthen muscles in the joints and restore range of movement of the joints and also lessen the pain.
- Take the prescribed medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen to relieve of the pain and the inflammation in the joints.
- Avoid being overweight, maintain a healthy weight
- Healthy lifestyle and performing regular exercises every day
- Minimize performing repetitive movements.