Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints, which results in pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited movement. There are over 100 different types of arthritis.
Arthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage. Cartilage normally protects the joint, allowing for smooth movement. Cartilage also absorbs shock when pressure is placed on the joint, like when you walk. Without the usual amount of cartilage, the bones rub together, causing pain, swelling (inflammation), and stiffness.
You may have joint inflammation for a variety of reasons, including:
Often, the inflammation goes away after the injury has healed, the disease is treated, or the infection has been cleared.
With some injuries and diseases, the inflammation does not go away or destruction results in long-term pain and deformity. When this happens, you have chronic arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type and is more likely to occur as you age. You may feel it in any of your joints, but most commonly in your hips, knees or fingers. Risk factors for osteoarthritis include:
Arthritis can occur in men and women of all ages. About 37 million people in America have arthritis of some kind, which is almost 1 out of every 7 people.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve at the point where it passes through the wrist. The median nerve supplies sensation to the thumb side of the palm, and to the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and the thumb side of the ring finger. It also helps with movement to part of the hand.
The area where the nerve enters the hand is called the carpal tunnel. Since the passageway is stiff, any swelling in this area can put pressure on the nerve. This may also be called entrapment of the nerve.
Injury to the wrist area can cause swelling of the tissues and carpal tunnel syndrome. This type of injury may be caused by sports such as racquetball and handball, or occur during sewing, typing, driving, assembly-line work, painting, writing, use of tools (especially hand tools or tools that vibrate), or similar activities.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is common in people who perform repetitive motions of the hand and wrist, such as typing. The condition occurs most often in people 30 to 60 years old, and is more common in women than men.
Some of the conditions associated with carpal tunnel syndrome include:
Tenosynovitis is inflammation of the lining of the sheath that surrounds a tendon (the cord that joins muscle to bone).
The synovium is a lining of the protective sheath that covers tendons. Tenosynovitis is inflammation of this sheath. The cause of the inflammation may be unknown, or it may result from:
The wrists, hands, and feet are commonly affected. However, the condition may occur with any tendon sheath.
Note: An infected cut to the hands or wrists that causes tenosynovitis may be an emergency requiring surgery.