A GP guide to hand osteoarthritis

This update reviews the evidence and international guidelines for treatment of hand osteoarthritis

Hand osteoarthritis (OA) usually presents with hand joint pain, brief morning stiffness, impaired hand function, decreased grip strength and impaired activities of daily living. It is characterised by bony enlargements and deformities of the hand joints.1 

The lifetime risk of symptomatic hand OA is 40%, with one in two women and one in four men developing symptomatic disease by age 85 years.2 Hand OA prevalence increased by 110% in Australia from 1990 to 2019.3