Among the organs that are affected by the passing of time and are the first to show signs of aging are the hands. Elderly people are in fact often affected by diseases that can greatly worsen the quality of life, but can be treated and resolved. How to reduce interference in daily life related to diseases affecting the upper limbs we talked about it with Dr. Luciana Marzella, of the Surgery of the Hand in Humanitas.
From arthrosis to trauma, to rhizarthrosis
“With ageing there can be various changes and disturbances in the hand – said Luciana Marzella, of the Surgery of the Hand in Humanitas -. Apart from the aesthetic discourse, we have arthrosis, cause of pain and deformation of the fingers and consequent to the consumption of the articular surfaces, as well as possible repeated traumas, to which is added a reduction in the mechanisms of repair. Another condition often underestimated by family doctors is rhizarthrosis, a degeneration of the bone at the base of the thumb with pain, accentuated by daily movements (opening a bottle, screwing a coffee maker, turning the key in the patch). Then there are the tendonitis, very common in the elderly, especially in women after menopause, and causes acute pain especially in the case of the so-called snap-fingers. We must also remember arthrosis of the wrist, due to degeneration or as a result of fractures or small traumas, and pathologies affecting the nerves, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or compression of the ulnar nerve at the elbow”.
While the wear and tear of time cannot be stopped, there are a number of measures that can be put in place in everyday life to protect the hands, limiting trauma, joint inflammation, the appearance of stains and signs of aging of the skin.
“It is important, for example, to wear gloves in winter and not expose yourself too much to the cold, lukewarm and not cold water to wash objects, oven gloves to avoid repeated sunburn, dumbbells in case of gymnastics exercises with flexions on the arms, sunscreen with total protection on the hands,” said Dr. Marzella.
The passage in the operating room
“All these pathologies can be cured with the appropriate treatment. It is important for the patient to know that, even if over the years, they are conditions that can be treated and resolved, giving him the opportunity to have a normal hand and without more pain – said the specialist -. 80% of these are surgical procedures: we are facing chronic diseases for which the symptomatic medical treatments control little, and not always, the symptoms. The surgery that can be used varies according to the pathology, from small operations to free the tendons in the snap-fingers, to reconstruction operations for arthrosis and rhizarthrosis (with prosthesis), to decompressions for the carpal tunnel”.