The best treatment for arthritic hands depends on the patient's severity of pain and range of motion; however, many cases are treated with a combination of pain medication and steroid injections, according to WebMD. Other forms of osteoarthritis treatments include finger or wrist braces or splints, hot and cold treatments, topical creams, and exercises for joint mobility. Patients with severe pain or limited movement may undergo surgery to repair or reconstruct the joints or tendons.
Over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen can be effective in mild cases of osteoarthritis, according to MedicineNet. Acetaminophen is often preferable to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, as it generally has fewer gastrointestinal side effects. However, NSAIDS such as ibuprofen, ketoprofen and naproxen are often effective when taken with supplements.
Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements have been associated with the ability to rebuild joint cartilage; however, as of 2015, there is not enough scientific evidence to support these claims, states MedicineNet. Glucosamine and chondroitin can be purchased without a prescription and are effective in relieving pain in some patients. Patients should consult a doctor about optimal combinations and dosages to take. Additionally, fish oil can help to reduce inflammation from arthritis.
Capsaicin, menthol and methyl salicylate are found in pain-relieving creams that can be used to treat mild pain throughout the day, notes MedicineNet. Bathing the hands in hot wax often provides significant pain relief.