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What Are the Treatments for Bone Spurs in Hands?

by
author image Jody Murray
Based in Connecticut, Jody Murray, has been writing and teaching in the field of sports medicine since 1997. Murray has an M.A. in exercise physiology from UNC-Chapel Hill and a B.S. in athletic training from Springfield College. Murray is also a licensed acupuncturist.
What Are the Treatments for Bone Spurs in Hands?
Bone spurs can form in any of the finger joints. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images

According to the University of Washington School of Medicine, degenerative joint disease in the finger joints can result in bony growths, known as bone spurs. This type of bone spur usually forms near the joints of the fingers due to the wearing out of the joint cartilage, also known as osteoarthritis. Symptoms of bones spurs in the hand include swelling, stiffness, pain and reduced range of motion.

Exercise and Physical Therapy

Bones spurs in the hand are almost always accompanied by stiffness, reduced range of motion and loss of strength. Physical therapy, occupational therapy or a home exercise program, emphasizing range of motion and grip strength exercises, will help the patient maximize the function of the hand. The patient may find that using hot water baths will decrease pain and stiffness and make exercising easier and more tolerable. Exercises will focus on actively moving the fingers against gentle resistance, such as gripping a soft ball, or moving the fingers in a bowl of uncooked rice. Exercising is most effective in the early stages of bone spur formation.

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Medications and Injections

The physician may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to the patient with osteoarthritis and bones spurs in the hands. If oral anti-inflammatory medications do not produce the desired results, the physician may next inject the affected joints with steroids. Anti-inflammatory medications do not address the cause of bone spurs and will generally only provide temporary relief. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, steroid injections may provide relief for several months, but cannot be repeated indefinitely.

Surgery

When conservative, non-invasive treatments fail to provide relief, surgery is sometimes an option. Bone spurs that have formed outside of joints can often be easily removed. More commonly, bone spurs in the hand, involve the joints and a more extensive surgery must be performed. Surgery may include reconstructing the existing joint, fusing the joint completely, or replacement with an artificial joint. The surgeon will discuss which options are viable for the patient's specific case. Each surgery will require a period of rehabilitation, from two to 12 weeks.

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