Arthritis—literally, "inflamed joint"—can affect any joint in the body, including the joints between the 29 bones of the wrist, hand, and fingers. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease in which the smooth cartilage that covers the bone surfaces at the joints either is injured or wears over time.
A normal joint is made of two smooth, cartilage-covered bone surfaces that fit together so that they glide when the bones move. Arthritis develops when the smooth surfaces wear out and they no longer fit together. Injury, infection, gout, psoriasis, and other conditions can also cause arthritis of the hand.
Signs & Symptoms