Features September 2010 Issue

Thumbs Up for Hardy Hands

What you need to know to keep hands limber, mobile, and pain-free.

Our hands are vital to everyday functioning, from doing household chores to outdoor pursuits, to less active pastimes such as reading—and for that basic human activity, eating. Yet for close to three million people age 60 and older (about nine percent of older women and seven percent of older men) with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the hand, these activities can pose challenges. "The key components of good function are being pain-free and having range of motion, strength, and stability," says Peter Evans, MD, PhD, director of the Upper Extremity Center at Cleveland Clinic. "If the joints in your hand are painful or otherwise compromised, you won’t be able to function at your best."

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