Arthritic Condition of Upper Extremity


The pain and stiffness of arthritis in your hands, wrist, fingers, and shoulders is common as you get older, but you don't have to live with it. Mark A. Yaffe, MD, at Barrington Orthopedic Specialists offers a full range of treatment options, including physical therapy, medications, and surgery to help relieve your arthritis pain and manage your symptoms. If you experience joint pain or stiffness in your upper extremity, call Barrington Orthopedic Specialists at one of their offices in Schaumburg, Bartlett, Elk Grove Village, or Buffalo Grove, Illinois.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis refers to inflammation in your joints. It is not one condition but more than 100 different conditions that all cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in your joints and, in some cases, other parts of your body. It’s more common in women and older adults, but people of all ages, even children, can get it. Often, arthritis is the result of wear and tear on your joints, but it can also be brought on by an injury.

What are common types of arthritis of the upper extremity?

There are many different kinds of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, ankylosing arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. The types of arthritis that most affect your hands, fingers, shoulders, and elbow include: 


This is the most common form of arthritis. It’s the result of the wearing away, over time, of cartilage, causing bone to rub against bone. Sometimes this type of arthritis is brought on by injury or trauma. Osteoarthritis affects weight-bearing joints the most, such as hips and knees, but it also often affects hands, fingers, and wrists.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where your body’s immune system attacks the lining of your joint capsule, also called the synovial, making it inflamed and swollen. This type of arthritis can attack any joint in your body and can also affect other organs, such as your heart, lungs, and eyes. Other RA symptoms include fatigue and reduced appetite.

Psoriatic arthritis

This type of arthritis is also an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system attacks the skin and joints, causing psoriasis (an itchy, scaly skin condition) and also inflammation of the joints, usually in the fingers and toes.

How is arthritis of the upper extremity treated?

The treatment you need depends on what type of arthritis you have, how long you’ve had it, and which joints are affected. At Barrington Orthopedic Specialists, Dr. Yaffe works with you to create the most effective treatment plan for your condition and lifestyle. Treatment plans usually involve a combination of options. These options include:

  • Medications, such as over-the-counter and prescription painkillers and anti-inflammatories
  • Splints
  • Injections
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologics for rheumatoid arthritis
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery, including joint replacement

For more information on arthritis treatment, call Barrington Orthopedic Specialists.

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