Arthrosis, the Joint Disease
Arthrosis is a degenerative condition characterized by the gradual deterioration of the joint cartilage that protects and lubricates the bones. This condition affects millions of people (particularly women) and can impact both large joints such as the knee and hip, as well as smaller joints like those in the fingers. It's important to note that each finger has three joints (including the thumb), and each of these joints can be affected by arthritis. Arthrosis in the hands can be particularly debilitating, as it hampers many daily activities and leads to painful deformities and unsightly nodules.
Symptoms of Hand Arthrosis
In the initial stages of the disease, the cartilage layer that coats the joint surfaces starts to gradually thin, causing the two surfaces to come into contact. This initiates a friction that resembles the sound of two pieces of fine glass rubbing against each other. The effects are threefold: the fingers become red, warm, and painful due to inflammation; the joints become stiff; and a kind of "arthrosis powder" forms around the affected joints, eventually forming clusters of bone tissue known as osteophytes, which become visible through the skin. While these formations can occur on any joint in the body, they are particularly noticeable on the fingers, forming at the end joints near the nails (Heberden's nodes) and on the middle joints (Bouchard's nodes). When these symptoms appear, it's crucial to intervene promptly to halt joint degeneration and prevent more debilitating deformities.
Progression of Hand Arthrosis
As arthrosis progresses, the joint degeneration completely consumes the protective cartilage, leading to irreversible bone-on-bone contact. At this stage, the joint remains aligned, but the pain increases and is no longer dependent on joint usage. Movement becomes increasingly strenuous, and initial hook-like curvatures of the end phalanges of the fingers start to appear. Deformity marks the final stage of arthritis: aesthetically, the fingers lose their natural shape, and the joint nodes and deformities become evident longitudinally, with a fixed flexion posture. Lateral deviation, especially of the index finger, is also common. At this point, surgery becomes the only solution.
Thumb Locking: Rhizarthrosis
One favored location for arthrosis disease is the joint at the base of the thumb, anatomically called the trapeziometacarpal joint. This unique joint resembles a horse saddle in shape. The onset of the disease is attributed to the gradual deterioration of a small ligament, allowing the thumb to slide out of its natural position. It's as if two stacked spoons shifted a few millimeters, losing their perfect concave-convex fit and beginning to rub against each other's edges instead of moving in harmony. Symptoms include a dull pain, a small bump at the base of the thumb, and the sensation of struggling to hold onto objects. Functionally, individuals notice difficulty performing twisting motions like opening jars, unscrewing bottle caps, or turning handles—not due to a lack of strength, but due to pain. The disease is classified using the Eaton classification: five stages (from 0 to 4) in order of severity.
Read also Rhizarthrosis and Vitamin D
Arthrosis in Hands: when to seek medical advice
Five main factors contribute to cartilage deterioration: genetics, age, lifestyle, diet, and wear and tear. Genetic predisposition plays a fundamental role in arthrosis onset, particularly in women, as the disease is systematically passed down from generation to generation. It's a dominant trait that doesn't skip generations, which is why those with close relatives, especially in the female lineage (mother, grandmother, sister) who suffer from arthrosis should pay close attention to signs and symptoms. Another significant factor is age, as joints also age and wear out over time. In recent years, due to changing lifestyles, the first symptoms can appear around age 40-45, so it's advisable not to wait too long and to adopt timely behaviors and lifestyles that can slow the onset of arthrosis. The first step is to undergo an examination with a simple X-ray (invasive or special exams such as MRI or CT scans are not required) to understand the disease stage and identify appropriate therapies.
Treatments: Types and Timing
Strategies and therapies to counter hand arthrosis vary and are closely related to the disease stage. Surgical intervention is the last resort, necessary when the disease has caused irreversible damage due to the absence of cartilage. In intermediate stages, there are various strategies aimed primarily at lubricating the joint and strengthening the specific muscles around the joint. In the former case, medications or mesenchymal cell injections can be used to lubricate joints that struggle to move. In the latter case, personalized physiotherapy can be conducted with a hand specialist.
For rhizarthrosis, a custom-made brace that preserves the trapeziometacarpal joint during daily activities, maintaining the thumb in the correct position, can be helpful.
Nevertheless, remember that the most effective approach is an integrated one that enhances the effects of therapies through proper nutrition and natural supplements, which can provide valuable substances to alleviate arthrosis symptoms while combating the disease.
Supplements, natural help
Algosfree offers various supplements, including the Anti Arthrosis Kit, composed of four products:
- Arthro-Bos: supplement with Boswellia Serrata and Ginger
- Arthro-Wil: supplement with Turmeric, Willow, and Black Pepper
- Arthro-Mac: drink with Aloe Vera, Pomegranate, and Vitamin C
- Arthro-Cap Plus: soothing balm with Capsaicin (chili), Ginger, and extract of green-lipped mussels from New Zealand
Each component of the kit has unique beneficial properties. Arthro-Bos and Arthro-Wil help counter skeletal pain, joint stiffness, and inflammation, serving as co-adjuvant anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, and antirheumatic agents.
Arthrosis kit for hands - Algosfree
The Arthro-Cap Plus has calming and soothing properties and is applied directly to the painful joints. Arthro-Mac helps detoxify the body and, thanks to Vitamin C, provides co-adjuvant antioxidant and protective actions.