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Joint pain from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are often flared up during colder weather. Arthritis in the hand commonly occurs at the thumb carpometacarpal joint, fingertips or known as the distal interphalangeal joint (DIPJ) and metacarpal joint. Arthritis can also occur at the wrist. Here we take a look at different ways of managing arthritis and how a hand therapist can help. 


Splints are often required to help rest painful joints, prevent deformity and reduce pain. Splints will place the joints in a functional position that still allows you to use your hand with the splint on. Our Hand Therapists are qualified in fabricating custom-made splints out of thermoplastic or soft neoprene.  

Heat and topical anti-inflammatory 

Heat via heat pack or warm water can help relieve pain temporarily. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you should avoid using heat when joints are red and swollen. Topical anti-inflammatory creams can also provide short-term pain relief.  

Joint protection 

It’s important to understand ways of protecting your joints to slow down the progression of wear and tear from arthritis. A Hand Therapist can advise you on alternate ways of doing activities that causes you pain, such as using a jar opener, angled knife or a lever tap.  


Maintaining joint range of motion, proprioception and strength of muscles will help to maintain joint stability, prevent deformity and reduce pain. A hand therapist can assess which muscles are weak and design an exercise program for you.  

Supplements and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories  

There are a wide range of supplements and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) that can help relieve joint pain. NSAIDs and supplements can be used on advice from your General Practitioner or Naturopath.  

If you are experiencing hand, finger or wrist arthritis pain, get in touch with one of our clinics today for an appointment.  

By Chen Li – BAppSc(Phty), Hand Therapy Group Physiotherapist, Accredited Hand Therapist (AHTA), Certified Hand Therapist (USA)