Jacqueline Goldsmith had an arthritic joint replaced in her finger eighteen months ago and is now returning to have the same operation on two other fingers. She tells her story here:
"I have had arthritis for many years in my back, hips and extremities. It can be so painful doing the simplest of things: doing up a button, holding a pen, turning a key in a lock - small things in your daily routine that, over time, become very stressful. The pain in my middle finger was getting worse so that even if I was sitting still doing nothing, I could feel it throbbing constantly.
I had been seeing consultant rheumatologist Professor Chakravarty but I had lost the ability to bend my middle finger at all and the drugs I had been prescribed didn’t help the function or the pain enough. It was him that suggested I speak to Mr Sood about having surgery.
In my consultation with Mr Sood, he explained that I could have the finger joint replaced with a prosthetic joint which would reduce the pain. However, realistically, I’d probably only get 50% of the function back.
I went ahead with the surgery in January 2012 which went very well and was followed by six weeks of intensive hand therapy. The first two weeks post-op were very painful but I had been warned to expect that. It gradually eased as the weeks went on and by three months there was no pain at all. Now, 18 months on, I can make a full fist so I actually have far more than the expected 50% function back. Mr Sood has said such a full recovery is rare so I have been very lucky.
Though the hand therapy was painful initially, I’m glad I kept it up. If you want the best results, you have to do what the consultant recommends and I am so pleased with the outcome!
I’ve booked in to have two other joints replaced on my right hand so I will be interested to see whether I experience the same sort of recovery with them. Even 50% function is better than what I have now though so it will always be an improvement.
The whole process has been excellent and it has made it easier for me to do the day-to-day things I struggled with before. I can even play with my grandchildren more without such painful consequences.
I would definitely recommend to anybody with painful arthritic fingers that they go to see Mr Sood and get his opinion. The treatment and service I have received at Spire Hartswood has been first class."
The consultant's view by Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand Surgeon, Mr Manu Sood
"The extent to which the function of the hand can be affected by arthritis in a single joint in the finger is quite surprising as can be seen in Mrs Goldsmith’s case. Surgery for arthritis for the finger joints is well established. It is a reliable technique for getting rid of pain but the outcome in terms of movement of the joints depends very much upon the pre-operative state of the joint and the period of time for which the arthritis has been present. This is because long standing arthritis results and stiffness of the tissues around the joint which therefore limits the movement that can be obtained after surgery.
However, another important determinant is the patient’s commitment to post-operative hand therapy exercises. It is very important for the patient to be seen by a dedicated specialist hand therapist. Mrs Goldsmith was treated by Mrs Adrienne Copsey, our Senior Hand Therapist at Spire Hartswood Hospital who has many years of experience with hundreds of patients who have undergone surgery of this type. Mrs Goldsmith’s commitment and perseverance with hand therapy despite the fact that it was painful at times has given her a near normal functioning finger with which she is delighted.
I am hopeful that I will be able to give her a similar result with her other hand."