My grandfather lived in Goshen, Indiana and when we would visit him he often made the same joke when we’d arrive. He had a finger that at the proximal knuckle deviated to the right and the distal knuckle deviated left the result was a very crooked finger. When I would arrive at his home (and after a hug) he would often say, “You know, I can’t point at you, but I can point around you.”
Last winter my pinky finger began to ache almost constantly. I would come in to work in the morning, dip my hand in the paraffin bath and warm it up for 5 to 10 minutes. And then the remainder of the day I could function fairly well - doing the things that we physical therapist do.
One morning I looked down at my hands and noticed that my distal knuckle was starting to deviate towards midline. I had the shocking realization that I was starting to exhibit my grandfather’s hands. I’m not quite able to point around you yet but I’m seeing that deviation, nonetheless.
As a therapist I now know that the arthritis that was present in my grandfather’s hands was osteoarthritis. This occurs when the cartilage between the bones begins to wear away. The cartilage is a smooth, shock absorbing tissue that helps the joints glide smoothly during movement. When it starts to wear away the joint can become painful, swollen and/or stiff. There are many types of arthritis and Osteoarthritis is one of the most common kind of arthritis that is present. There are plenty of other types of arthritis that we come across in our care of people: rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gouty, and juvenile, among others.
Physical therapy is unique in that we offer non-surgical, non-pharmacological tools to help you manage your arthritic pain. It is an excellent complement to the other interventions that your physician has recommended for you. These may include protecting the joint with bracing, keeping the joint mobile and the muscles surrounding that joint strong. We develop unique exercise programs for each individual to help them address the impairments and losses they are experiencing and find safe exercises for you to implement to help you get fit and keep your performing your activities of daily living.
Talk to your therapist today to find out how FYZICAL can help you Love Your Life!
If you’d like to dig a bit deeper here’s a really helpful link to the Arthritis Foundation: