APRICOT hand arthritis public involvement study

Blog post by Gloria

Gloria is living with hand osteoarthritis. Tina and Charlie from APRICOT's coordinating institution University of Southampton invited her to share her views about the major challenges associated with the condition as well as about the APRICOT implant in particular.

Hi, my name is Gloria and I have been taking part in a hand arthritis public involvement study. My symptoms are reasonably mild compared to the others involved, but they still impinge on my daily life. It is mainly in damp weather when I get sharp pains and swelling. This response mainly occurs in my thumbs, but also my fingers and wrists. The reason I decided to get involved in this study was that I already attended an exercise group run by the Senior Saint’s Foundation then, Tina and Charlie came along to one of our sessions and they were impressed by the attitude of the participants. We do not let anything get us down for long and we try to keep as fit as we can with all our various ailments; arthritis being the biggest one.

This public involvement study has been really interesting as I did not even know that there was already a surgical procedure for the hands albeit more invasive. I also found out that there are physio exercises you can do as well to help mobility in the hands.

Seeing the work being proposed to try to make this surgery more simplistic has been an eye-opener. Having input about our feelings towards arthritis and what we do to carry on normal life has felt like we are at last being listened to as well. I hope that more input from the patients will be taken into account as well in the future.

Tina and Charlie who were running these sessions were quite surprised by some of the things that are affected by arthritis and what we have to do to overcome it. Simple things we take for granted like sewing, writing a letter, opening those childproof caps, or trying to. Even gripping a bread knife or picking something up, when we are in the throes of a flare-up can be nigh on impossible.

Rather than keep taking anti-inflammatory and pain killer tablets, which merely mask the underlying problem, a simple but effective surgery at the early stages would be preferable. This is not something that affects just “older” people; some as young as 14 have been diagnosed with arthritis. The sooner it is diagnosed and the sooner a simple surgery to help, without removing good bone, can be performed, then a better quality of life can be had.

If this can be done under a local anaesthetic, all the better, as there is no long recovery required and you can be in and out in a day. If it has to be repeated in 2,3,4 or even 5 years down the road then so be it, it’s better than trying to cope with the debilitating effects of arthritis.

As I said before it’s not just an older person’s disease and it should be taken more seriously in the early stages so as to nip it in the bud. So many people could be helped with the possibility of this new procedure and by using what we already have in the arsenal like physiotherapy, nutrition and diet to help with flare-ups. For example, some people are affected by the acidity of say “tomatoes” so ensuring you are eating things that do not cause your flare-ups is important.

I hope you found this blog interesting