Deformed hands

My husband has been diagnosed with RA and is dealing with it pretty well. Probably his biggest problem is his hands, which are very deformned and his right hand fingers are often dislocating. He had an operation on the right hand some time ago which was extremly painful on recovery and has not done any good at all so he is reluctant to return to the surgeon. Has anyone out there any advice on dealing with the pain and deformity. He still works and can still drive and hates taking pain killing drugs.

16 Replies

  • Sorry your husband is suffering from RA. Physiotherapy might help with exercises and complimentary therapies are sometimes offered. Has he seen an occupational therapist yet? If not I recommend he does because mine gave me lots of useful gadgets and advice having watched me at home and in the work place.

    My hands were the worst affected part of me but are not very deformed - just a little squint and off kilter and I can't fully clench them or put full weight on both wrists anymore. The physio helped me a lot with exercises and advised me to use a paraffin wax bath for them - it all comes as a kit and makes them feel really nice afterwards. Another soothing thing I've found was to rub them with some olive oil and put some poly gloves on and then wiggle them in a basin full of hot water for a while (I do this when cleaning the bathroom sometimes!). It feels as if they are getting a good oiling I find. Hope this helps. You should persuade him to come on here himself if you can - there are other men and it's the best place to come for people with RA. Tilda

  • Thanks Tilda the wax bath sounds a great idea, As with a lot of men it is hard to persuade him that communicating with other sufferers could hel,p but I will get what I can to help him and then perhaps he will feel that he can talk to other people.

  • I too suffer with RA in my hands, my right one being the worst effected. It is badly deformed, the wrist and fingers being the worst. I carn't make a fist or bend the wrist at all. I too have a wax bath which I purchased from Argos after using the one at the hospital when I went for physiotherapy. It does seem to ease the pain sometimes. I also use a wheatbag which I wrap round it and then again sometimes holding it under the cold water tap seems to ease it. It is all trial and error to see what eases the pain best at that particular time.

    I can understand your hubby not wanting more surgery. The specialist said to me about surgery and I said would I have to stay in hospital overnight. She said yes, you will be in that much pain you will be glad to stay in, so that was the end of that (lol) No way was I going to go through that.

  • Thanks for letting me know that you an get a wax bath at Argos. I will probably get one of those asap and hope this helps with the pain. His right hand is very deformed but as he says luckily it is deformed in a way that he can hold a steering wheel! His wrist is fine, wow that is a real problem for you.

  • I couldn't find a wax bath on Argos but husband got me one online last year for Xmas! Keep looking out for the chaos on here and sow him their blogs and questions perhaps? TTx

  • Sorry the computer is throwing a wobbler.

    Hope this helps at bit and your hubby finds some relief soon.

    Pip 12

  • Ps and don't assume men always come with male names. There's a chap on here called Safron!

  • Argos must have stopped doing wax baths, I have had mine for about two years now. You can get them on EBay. Mine is a Homemedics one but they have all different ones on there at all different prices - sorry about that, hope this helps - Pip12

  • Thanks will look into it - wifeG

  • presumably he's on medication to slow/stop further damage? And has he seen a physio to get advice re exercises and splints to help cope with the damage he's got, and learn what is not good to do? if he's getting lots of dislocations suggests that he could do with some strengthening exercises? Otherwise perhaps start grinding up anti-inflammatories in his porridge? Polly

  • I can no longer make a fist with right hand either, but the wax bath helps with the pain brought mine from Amazon just a basic one. You can also get the wax there or ebay quite resonable price. I also have my tiger hottie which I rest my hand on at night to try to help with sleeping(he,s more reliable than hubbie and doen.t nag!) and my gp gave me ibuprofum cream which is stronger than on the shelf version. I also take celebcox to help with swelling.

  • I've got a heat pad just a small one from Argos and its got thermostat to switch off when reaches temp. I find it good relief for hands in bed I put one hand under it and other on top .

  • im a wax bath or lavender wheat bag/ wrap fan x

  • Thanks to all of you it seems that heat is the answer so will explore all the suggestions given. I'm amazed at how many people replayed to my question and am so glad that I found this site. Thank you again

  • Hi wifeG

    As Polly mentioned, there are many different medications used to treat RA which should help with your husbands pain so it would be worth discussing options with the rheumatologist if your husband is not taking anything for his RA. We have lots of information about medication on our website which you might find useful:

    It would also be worth your husband asking to be referred to an occupational therapist (OT) as the others have suggested, either through his GP or rheumatology team. OTs can advise on ways to protect the smaller joints, including information about helpful gadgets, and can sometimes provide splints to help support painful hands and wrists. There is also quite a useful booklet produced by Arthritis Research UK on looking after your joints which you can download from their website:

    Kind regards

    Sarah Kate


  • Thanks Sarah

    Will do. And again thanks to all

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