Featured Speaker Physiotherapy Now
Dr. John Watterson, MD, FRCPC, discusses diagnosis and symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Dr. John Watterson is a rheumatologist who currently practices in Vancouver at Laurel Medical Centre Ltd. Dr. Watterson obtained his Bachelor of Science in Microbiology in 1991 and his MD in 1995 from the University of British Columbia.
He is currently a clinical instructor at UBC and an active member of the clinical staff at the University Hospital. Dr. Watterson is the Medical Director of the Arthritis Program and a rheumatologist at the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. Dr. Watterson is a medical consultant for the Arthritis Society Traveling Consultative Service in Cranbrook and Medical Director of the Industrial Alliance Assurance Company.
Previously, Dr. John Watterson was a staff physician at Mount St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burnaby, St. Vincent’s Hospital in Vancouver and St. Mary’s Hospital in Vancouver.
John R. Watterson, MD Clinical Assistant Professor University of British Columbia ARTUS Health Centre 839 West Broadway Vancouver, BC
Symptoms and Treatment of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis of the hands is a form of degenerative arthritis.
It’s very common in populations; in particular, aging populations, a disorder of degenerative arthritis affecting the end joints and the middle joints of the hands and the base of the thumbs. The diagnosis is based upon clinical symptoms, generally pain, stiffness, and loss of dexterity in the hands.
A physician will make the diagnosis clinically or may ask for certain blood tests or X-rays. The blood tests are generally normal, as it is not a systemic disease. It’s only affecting joints. And X-rays are very characteristic.
The treatment of osteoarthritis is based upon symptoms. We don’t know of anything that’s disease – modifying for osteoarthritis, so really, we’re treating symptoms.
Many individuals will not have symptoms. Others will have quite severe symptoms. And the treatment for those individuals varies from simple over-the-counter analgesic and anti-inflammatory agents to prescription-strength anti-inflammatory drugs.
Before starting off medications, you should consult your general practitioner to make sure there are no contraindications to you utilizing over-the-counter or prescription-strength analgesic or anti-inflammatory drugs.
In individuals with significant degenerative arthritis at the base of the thumbs, there are some surgical and splinting interventions which can also help improve both symptoms and hand function.
If you think you have symptoms of osteoarthritis of the hands, it is important to seek medical attention, as there is treatment available for this disorder.
Local Practitioners: Rheumatologist