Skeletal system in the humans is very complex in structure. It is composed of numerous bones and joints. The main role of the joints is to link the bones. There is a thin layer of cartilage on each joint, which protects the bones and prevents their tearing or wearing against each other. Metacarpophalangeal joints are the knuckle joints in the fingers that connect the long bones in the hand and the smaller bones in the fingers. These joints play an important role in performing certain activities that require gripping and holding things.
The joints in the human body are usually affected by arthritis. It is a general term for a group of diseases that affect the joints causing their inflammation. There are about hundred types of arthritis. However, the most common type of arthritis that affects the metacarpophalangeal joints is rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis of the metacarpophalangeal joints causes pain and deformity in the knuckle joints of the fingers.
Causes of arthritis of the metacarpophalangeal joints
There are many causes that are responsible for the occurrence of pain and deformity in the knuckle joints of the fingers, such as an injury to the joints or the hand, then psoriasis and gout and many other diseases. These conditions cause pain when they destroy the structures and muscles that move the joint or when they impair the surface of the joint.
When a disease loosens the ligaments that support and hold the joint in the place, they may easily slip out of the place. Furthermore, tendons on the surface of the joints may also slip out of place and thus become incapable to strengthen the fingers.
Symptoms of arthritis of the metacarpophalangeal joints
The most common symptom of this condition is difficulty in using the hand when performing everyday activities, such as, holding an object or gripping something. Furthermore, people who suffer from arthritis of the metacarpophalangeal joints may experience leaning of the fingers to the little finger side of the hand.
Treatment of arthritis of the metacarpophalangeal joints
When the symptoms of this disorder appear, they should be treated. In the early phases of the arthritis, the doctors usually prescribe certain medications, then they recommend certain changes in the lifestyle of the patient and give injections of anti-inflammatory medicine. However, when these non-surgical treatments are not successful, then the surgery is required. There are two common types of surgery for the arthritis of the metacarpophalangeal joints. Synovectomy or soft-tissue replacement is performed in less severe cases, while in severe cases, the replacement of the diseased joint with an artificial one is performed.