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Hands are one of the first areas in the body that are affected by Psoriatic Arthritis. Although it can affect any one of the 27 joints in the hand, Psoriatic Arthritis is known to primarily impact the fingers giving rise to symptoms like pain, swelling, warmth and nail changes. Symptoms are often mild, but can worsen if not treated promptly, eventually leading to deformity.
Hands are used for almost every task and any symptom affecting the hands, especially the fingers, can interfere with daily life, making simple tasks like opening a bottle of water seem difficult.
Following the treatment plan prescribed by your treating doctor is important. Here are six self-care tips that will help you navigate the symptoms better:
Take frequent breaks – It is important to take a little break every time your hands or fingers feel sore. Stopping work for a few minutes will give them time to recover.
Practice hand exercises – Hand exercises are important to improve flexibility and range of motion and prevent stiffness. An easy exercise for your hands is to make a fist, hold it for 2-3 seconds, and straighten your hand. Consult with your treating doctor for more such exercises.
Try cold packs – To bring down swelling or inflammation in your hands, use a cold compress or ice cubes in a soft towel. Place it on the affected joints for 10 minutes at a time and repeat several times a day. The cold helps bring down swelling and inflammation and also has a numbing effect on the pain.
Use a warm compress – Try holding a warm compress or heating pad to the affected area. It can act as an effective pain reliever.
Go for gadgets – Use tools that are specially designed for sore hands. Tools such as easy-grip pens and nonslip jar openers may come in handy.
Massage your hands – You can massage your own hands by rubbing them gently a few times each day. It can help relieve pain and increase circulation.
When Psoriatic Arthritis symptoms affect the hands, the result can be extremely painful and restrict the ability to engage in daily tasks. It is important to identify these symptoms at an early stage and have a conversation with your treating doctor about how to manage them. Regular treatment along with self-care can help ease the symptoms and allow you to live better with Psoriatic Arthritis.
A Pain in the Hand: Managing PsA Hand Pain. Available [online] at: https://www.healthline.com/health/psoriatic-arthritis/a-pain-in-the-hand-managing-psa-hand-pain. Accessed on 21 June 2021.
When Psoriatic Arthritis Strikes the Hands. Available [online] at: https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/psoriatic-arthritis/when-psoriatic-arthritis-strikes-the-hands. Accessed on 21 June 2021.
How Psoriatic Arthritis Affects Hands, Fingers, and Nails. Available [online] at: https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/psoriatic-arthritis/psa-hands-fingers-nails. Accessed on 21 June 2021.
How does Psoriatic Arthritis affect the hands? Available [online] at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323298. Accessed on 21 June 2021.
How Psoriatic Arthritis affects the Hands. Available [online] at: https://www.verywellhealth.com/psoriatic-arthritis-in-hands-4770912. Accessed on 21 June 2021.