Osteoarthritis in the Hands

Dr. John Watterson, MD, FRCPC, discusses diagnosis, symptoms and treatment of osteoarthritis in the hands.

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Dr. John Watterson, MD, FRCPC, discusses diagnosis, symptoms and treatment of osteoarthritis in the hands.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. John Watterson, MD, FRCPC

Duration: 1 minute, 26 seconds

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can affect any area of the body.  Osteoarthritis of the hands is specifically involving certain areas, including the end joints and the middle joints of the hands, and the joint at the base of the thumb.  

Why this is important is because it's very common, particularly in women around the ages of women around the ages of 45 to 65. Men seem to have a slightly later onset.  

The disease, when it comes on, causes pain and stiffness in the hands and loss of grip strength, as well as dexterity. So things such as opening jars or opening a can or gripping something tightly in the hands is made more difficult.  

Osteoarthritis of the hands often runs in families. Many patients will describe having a mother, an aunt, or a sister who has similar changes with enlarged knuckles in the hands and difficulties with grip strength.  

One interesting aspect of osteoarthritis is the fact that some individuals have no symptoms; whereas, others have a lot of symptoms, in terms of pain and stiffness, particularly at onset. It's this latter group that generally tends to seek medical attention for this problem, where a diagnosis is queried and/or made by their treating physician. 

If you think you have symptoms of osteoarthritis of the hands, it is important to seek medical attention, as there is treatment available for this disorder. 

Presenter: Dr. John Watterson, Rheumatologist, Victoria, BC

Local Practitioners: Rheumatologist

Video Quiz ( 19 participated.)

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that can affect any joint in the body.


Osteoarthritis in the finger joints and hands most commonly effect women between the ages of 45-65.


People who suffer from Osteoarthritis of the hands can lose grip strength in their hands. 

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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