Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ

Question:

My 73-year old mother is going to have three of the knuckles in her arthritic hand replaced. She's pretty limited in motion right now so I can imagine she'll be much better off after the joint replacement. How close to normal will she get?

Answer:

The joint implants used to replace worn out joints from osteoarthritis or destroyed joints from rheumatoid arthritis come pretty close to normal. Some of the newer implants are designed to start in a small amount of flexion. This preflexed design holds the MCP joints (knuckles) in a natural resting position.

Studies show that motion is similar although not exactly the same after hand joint arthroplasty. The patient ends up with the same overall total range of motion compared to the other hand. Sometimes the tip of the finger moves first before the other joints in the finger.

Patients aren't likely to notice this on a day-to-day basis. In fact it's possible that this slight change in motion will work to the patient's advantage when it comes to grasping objects or opening and closing the hand.

Long-term results are a bit sketchy. More research is needed in this area.

Bassem Elhassan, MD, et al. Experimental Investigation of Finger Dynamics Before and After Metacarpophalangeal Joint Arthroplasty. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. February 2006. Vol. 31 A. No. 2. Pp. 228-235.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
All content provided by eORTHOPOD® is a registered trademark of Medical Multimedia Group, L.L.C.. Content is the sole property of Medical Multimedia Group, LLC and used herein by permission.

Our Specialties

Where Does It Hurt?

Our Locations

  Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on YouTube
Follow us on Twitter