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If you have arthritis in your fingers (interphalangeal joint arthritis) that affects your quality of life, the Penn Integrated Hand Program can recommend a treatment path for your unique needs. We provide personalized treatment plans that may include both non-surgical and surgical options to address your specific condition.

Treatment for Arthritis in Fingers

We are highly experienced in diagnosing and treating arthritis of the hands and fingers. Our team is comprised of orthopaedic surgeons and plastic surgeons who work together to develop a treatment plan just for you.

Surgery for Arthritis in Fingers

Surgery to treat interphalangeal joint arthritis is typically an outpatient procedure that lasts about an hour. It’s performed under local anesthesia and possibly sedation, depending on your case and preferences.

The first step is to remove the cysts that arthritis causes to form in the joints. After we remove these cysts, we’ll remove some of the arthritic spurs off the back of the your finger that caused the cyst to form. This is meant to keep any cysts from coming back.

After surgery, you’ll wear a splint on your finger for a week and a half as the incision heals. You can stop wearing the splint when your sutures are taken out, and then you can begin using your fingers again. Our surgeons will follow your recovery and make sure you heal properly.

What is interphalangeal joint arthritis in the hands?

Interphalangeal joint arthritis is arthritis of the fingers. Each finger on your hand, with the exception of the thumb, has three phalanges (bones that make up the fingers) separated by two joints known as interphalangeal joints.

If you have arthritis in your fingers, you may experience bumps on your finger joints or fingertips. These bumps are actually fluid-filled cysts known as mucous cysts.

All joints in the body are surrounded by “water balloons” known as joint capsules. The job of these capsules is to contain the lubricating fluid within the joint so that they can glide. The fluid also keeps your cartilage healthy.

Once that cartilage breaks down or you form extra bone — which is typical of arthritis — the joint capsule gets stretched out. When it stretches out, certain areas of the capsule become weaker. Some fluid can leave your joints, which ultimately causes these mucous cysts to form at the end of the fingers.

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