A 65 year old male from England presents to the office with pain and swelling of his fingers. Pain interferes with usual tasks such as holding a cup or a knife. His past medical history is essentially unremarkable. He takes Glucosamine and amino acids, with some relief. At a younger age patient was active in competitive fencing.
Discussion: A very common type of arthritis that we encounter here is Osteoarthritis of fingers. This is even becoming more common no thanks to advancements in technology. (use of computer keyboard or videogames or certain pocket organizers and cell phones) Repetitive motion is most likely the number one cause of osteoarthritis of fingers, common sign of osteoarthritis in the fingers is a knobby bony deformity at the smallest joint of the end of the fingers. This is called Heberden's node. The bony deformity is a result of the bone spurs or osteophytes from the osteoarthritis in that joint. This deformity limits the range of motion of the joint. Typically is not painful but sometimes patient may experience severe pain in the fingers.