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Having arthritis in hands and feet can obviously be miserable. The stiffness in your finger joints as well as your foot and ankle, and joint swelling, can make it hard to do even the simplest tasks.

Thankfully, under the guidance of a doctor, there are some things people can do to try and find relief from the symptoms of arthritis. Always talk to a medical professional before diagnosing yourself, or deciding on a course of treatment for arthritis.

Keep reading for some information on the different types of arthritis and some possible solutions your doctor may discuss with you. The information in this article is intended to inform you, but is not a substitute for medical advice from a professional.

How Do I Manage Arthritis At Home?

There are some things you can do at home that might help if you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis in hands and feet. For example, your doctor may suggest that you make lifestyle changes. This means eating a healthy diet and getting a good night’s sleep. Taking a warm bath before you go to bed and avoiding caffeine at night could help.

If your doctor suggests moving around, staying as active as possible can make the muscles that support your joints stronger, helping you maintain your range of motion. Exercise can also help you lose weight, which could take some of the pressure off of certain joints.1

Always talk to your doctor before making any lifestyle changes, and follow their advice.

What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis In Hands and Feet?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) occurs when the immune system attacks connective tissue. Researchers have not identified exactly what causes rheumatoid arthritis, but they have identified a few contributing factors.

  • arthritis in hands feet | LCR HealthAge – Rheumatoid arthritis tends to strike between the ages of 40 and 60. However, it can hit at any age.
  • Environment – Certain environmental factors may also increase the chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis. These include second-hand smoke exposure and air pollution.
  • Family History – If you have a history of rheumatoid arthritis in your family, you might be at a higher risk.
  • Genes – There is evidence that certain genes that may increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. But just because someone with these genes is at a higher risk, that doesn’t automatically mean they will develop the problem.2

It’s important to mention that people will sometimes think they have rheumatoid arthritis when they, in fact, have gout. This condition occurs when there is too much uric acid in the blood. The acid forms crystals that accumulate in joints.3

Your doctor can perform tests to see if you do, in fact, have rheumatoid arthritis.

Diagnosing Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are a few ways that a rheumatologist or another doctor can determine whether or not someone has this condition. Here are three tests that are typically performed in order to come up with a diagnosis.

Anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide Test 

This looks for levels of an antibody known as anti-CCP in the blood. Anti-CCP is a marker for rheumatoid arthritis.4

C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Test

The liver produces CRP. If there is too much CRP flowing through your blood vessels, that can be an indication of rheumatoid arthritis. A blood test will reveal your CRP levels.5

Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate Test 

The ESR test measures how fast the red blood cells, or erythrocytes, separate from the blood. If they do so quickly, that’s because they’re heavy. The heavier they are, the higher your erythrocyte sedimentation rate. That could be an indication of rheumatoid arthritis.6

Rheumatoid Factor Test 

Rheumatoid factor, or RF, is an antibody that can mistakenly attack healthy tissue in someone with an autoimmune disorder. A high RF factor is also an indication of rheumatoid arthritis.7

Other Conditions That Lead To Joint Discomfort

Certain other conditions can damage the finger joints and other joints, leading to swelling, stiffness, and symptoms affecting the tendons.

One condition that can sometimes cause swollen joints and other joint issues is lupus, which (like RA) is also an autoimmune disease. This means the immune system mistakenly attacks tissue. While it’s not a form of arthritis, arthritis is one of the symptoms of lupus.9,10

arthritis in hands feet | LCR HealthCarpal tunnel syndrome can lead to discomfort in the hand and wrist as well as the fingers. It’s caused by nerve damage in the carpal tunnel. This is an area that runs from your palm to your forearm. Rheumatoid arthritis is sometimes a contributing factor.11

If you’re having joint discomfort, speak with your doctor. They can diagnose you, and help you come up with a treatment plan.

Psoriasis And Psoriatic Arthritis

Many people believe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are the same things. They’re not. Psoriasis is an immune disorder that leads to scaly patches on the knees, scalp, elbows, and other parts of the body.13

Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that affects the soft tissue where tendons and ligaments meet bone. About 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis symptoms. These include fatigue, swelling and stiffness.14

Are Senior Citizens More Susceptible To Osteoarthritis?

Old age is a risk factor for osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis that affects the bones, making it very hard to move without extreme discomfort. However, it’s not inevitable. Not all older people develop osteoarthritis.15

Put Together A Plan

There are ways you can live a full, active life even if you’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or some other serious ailment. Physical therapy and lifestyle changes could help a great deal.
Talk to your doctor. They will help you come up with the best possible plan to manage your arthritis.

Learn More:
Foods to Avoid with Arthritis
BREAKING: A Vaccine For Arthritis Is Closer Than You Think
Study Shows That Joint Health Can Affect Your Heart

Sources
1 https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/arthritis-self-management.php
2 https://www.rheumatoidarthritis.org/ra/#causes
3 https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/tools-resources/expert-q-a/gout-questions/arthritis-or-gout.php
4 https://www.rheumatoidarthritis.org/ra/diagnosis/anti-ccp/
5 https://www.rheumatoidarthritis.org/ra/diagnosis/blood-tests
6 https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=erythrocyte_sedimentation_rate
7 https://www.rheumatoidarthritis.org/ra/diagnosis/rheumatoid-factor/
8 https://www.medicinenet.com/rheumatoid_arthritis/article.htm
9 https://www.lupus.org/resources/what-is-lupus
10 https://www.lupus.org/resources/common-symptoms-of-lupus
11 https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/
12 https://www.medicinenet.com/raynauds_phenomenon/article.htm
13 https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis
14 https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriatic-arthritis
15 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2818253