Give it a Strong Handshake: Resistance Training Helps Hand Osteoarthritis
Adapted from the American College of Rheumatology
Resistance strength training reduces pain and increases function in patients with hand osteoarthritis, according to new research findings presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
Several studies have shown the effectiveness of exercise therapy on osteoarthritis of the hips and knees. Researchers in Brazil shared the results of their study on the effectiveness of progressive resistance strength training on pain, function and strength in people with hand OA.
The researchers followed 60 participants — who had doctor-diagnosed hand OA for at least one year and who were experiencing pain in the joints of their fingers — for 12 weeks. One group followed a resistance exercise program for targeted at the small muscles in the hand and fingers the remainder of the study, and the second group did not.
The evaluators found that patients in the exercise group show better function, and less pain compared to group that did not follow the exercise program.
Dr Sraj’s Commentary: This article brings good news for patients of osteoarhritis of the hand. It does not, however, clarify which fingers or joints were involved and whether the two groups were comparable in this regards. Thumb arthritis and pinky arthritis have very different impact on hand function and pain, and this information is critical to determine the validity of the results.