Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down. Sometimes trauma or overuse can wear down the cartilage more quickly. Sometimes genetics plays a role. While there is no cure, there are ways to slow the progression of the disease. These include activity modifications and splints. Some research has suggested that glucosamine supplements may help as well. When pain becomes activity-limiting despite splinting and modifications, a cortisone injection may be helpful for the short-term. There are also also surgical options for hand arthritis. Joint replacements and reconstructions (for the thumb) will provide pain relief with limited loss of motion. Joint fusions will also provide pain relief and can be done for the DIP joint (last joint in the finger). While motion is lost, the effects on hand function are fairly mild, especially as pain is reduced.
Normal joint spaces (thin black lines in between each bone)
Narrowed joint spaces with irregular contours