Hand osteoarthritis: Monitoring and monitoring tools

Hands: Monitoring and monitoring tools

It can be very helpful for you to establish a self-monitoring routine of your osteoarthritis. You will be able to present the results of your self assessment and discuss them with your doctor. He or she can then more easily evaluate the degree of progression of your osteoarthritis and adapt your treatment accordingly, if necessary.


Here you will find some self-evaluation techniques based on the following points:


If you notice any changes between two self-evaluations, you must go and see your doctor.


We have already seen that pain is a symptom suggestive of a flare-up of osteoarthritis and thus a possible worsening of the osteoarthritic lesions of your joints.


However, the difficulty lies in the subjective feeling of pain.


So you can help your doctor by quantifying your own pain on a daily basis by attributing a score to it between 0 (no pain) to 10 (extreme pain) and telling him or her during your consultation.


There are predefined pain scales you can print in the section:  What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?


According to the affected joint, osteoarthritis can lead to discomfort or pain that will limit the scope of your movements. The extent of the decrease in your mobility or your difficulty in performing certain tasks can be an effective way to monitor your osteoarthritis.


Indeed, your mobility may reflect the evolution of your osteoarthritic lesions. To monitor your osteoarthritis and especially its impact on reducing your mobility, there are several questionnaires.


These evaluation grids generally used by physicians are relevant tools to help you monitor your osteoarthritis.


However, for some locations, the assessments of your difficulties in some movements do not necessarily reflect the evolution of your osteoarthritis.


It is therefore important to quantify your difficulties frequently with these questionnaires, but you must talk about it regularly with your doctor. By analysing your answers, he or she alone is capable of measuring the evolution of your osteoarthritis and recommending an appropriate treatment for your condition.


The questionnaire: Dreiser's functional index for the hand


Osteoarthritis can lead to a certain amount of stiffness in your joints. The intensity and duration of this stiffness, often in the morning, may reflect the state of inflammation in your joint. This is frequently observed in inflammatory flare-ups of osteoarthritis.


Paying attention to your stiffness may be a way to monitor your osteoarthritis (Simply by noting its evolution on a regular basis).


However, it is also essential that you discuss the results you have noted down with your doctor. He or she alone is able to analyse the results and assess the evolution of your osteoarthritis.

Hands: Here are some tips to monitor the evolution of your osteoarthritis

Protect your joints:

Go easy on your joints when you have an osteoarthritic flare-up.

It is very important to rest a joint when it has an osteoarthritis flare-up. It will allow your cartilage to repair.

However, this rest time must not last for too long. You must maintain your muscles. So when you are not suffering any more, you must maintain the flexibility of your joints by stretching and protect them by maintaining your muscle tone. Learn tips on how to adapt your environment.


Relaxing the muscles surrounding the inflamed joint relieves the pain.

How to relax : 

  1. Concentrate on breathing exercises and rediscover the sensations of your body.
  2. There are tapes and CDs for relaxation.
  3. Relax by taking time to meditate
  4. Create an inner world of well-being by imagining enjoyable activities (beach, diving, etc.)

Applying heat can also help relax muscles and relieve joint pain. Applying cold helps to reduce pain and swelling during periods of inflammation.