Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ

Question:

I notice I'm starting to get pea-sized bumps on the index and middle fingers of both hands. I don't have any other major symptoms. My grandma had these same kind of bumps but she had severe arthritis. Does this mean I'll get arthritis too?

Answer:

You may be observing signs of osteoarthritis of the hands called Heberden's nodes. They are named for the doctor who first described them in the 1800s. The hands may feel painful or stiff or the person may not be aware of any symptoms. Sometimes the joints make crackling sounds with movement. There may be some swelling of the joints. Many people don't notice it at first.

X-rays show joint osteoarthritis in a third of people aged 25 to 75. Hand symptoms are seen most often starting around age 45. Women are affected more often than men.

Any kind of skin changes must be examined and diagnosed by a physician. Finding the cause of the problem early may help prevent further problems later.

Jonathan M. Spencer, FRCS, et al. Genetic Background Increases Risk of Hip Osteoarthritis. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. February 2005. Vol. 431. Pp. 134-137.

*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.
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