"A lot of people have arthritis in their fingers, but many cope with it," explains Dr. Mark Klug, a hand orthopedic surgeon at Orthopedic Associates of SW Ohio. More people have significant dysfunction from the joint at the base of their thumb, which makes it the most commonly replaced joint.
Patients with arthritis in their fingers also can be pain-free after joint replacement surgery, which Dr. Klug performs most often on the joint near the nail. This surgery removes any bumps in the joint, a source of pain, and restores the patient's range of motion to about 65 percent of the normal range.
"Compared to thumb joint replacements, the technology for replacing finger joints is not as advanced mechanically – but as long as you get rid of the pain, people are pretty happy," he said.
Dr. Klug explains, "Patients might want to think about joint replacement surgery if anti-inflammatories or cortisone injections aren't helping. The surgery, usually outpatient, takes less than an hour. After two days, the dressing is removed, a splint is built and therapy begins to help with range of motion and swelling for the unaffected joints. Strengthening therapy for the replaced joints usually begins after six weeks, depending on the patient."
Since 1985, he's done some 3,000 thumb and finger joint replacement surgeries. If you have hand joint pain and would like to explore the options for treatments, make an appointment with Dr. Klug who can discuss potential options.
Dr. Klug is a hand orthopedic surgeon with Orthopedic Associates of SW Ohio. We have multiple offices located throughout the Miami Valley region to provide convenient, high quality, orthopedic care to the community.