It costs a lot of money and hassle to go for an MRI to monitor the onset and progress of arthritis.
So, a new study published the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology comes as a heaven sent for anyone concerned about this disease.
You can perform this test right now, right where you’re sitting.
Slide your fingertips across the full length of the fingers on your opposing hand. Do you feel any bony enlargements of your finger joints that were not there when you’re younger.
Medical scientists call them Heberden’s nodes and they are very typical hallmarks of osteoarthritis.
Since they indicate osteoarthritis of the finger joints and as they are so easily visible, researchers wondered whether they could be used to indicate the presence of osteoarthritis in other joints too.
To find out, a team of scientists recruited 575 participants from the Foundation for the National Institute of Health project.
They subjected their participants to a detailed examination of the finger joints to check for Heberden’s nodes. At the same time, they performed an MRI scan on the subject’s knees.
395 of their subjects had Heberden’s nodes and 188 did not.
People with Heberden’s nodes were more likely to have knee arthritis than those without them.
24 months later, they repeated the knee MRI scan to check whether their knee arthritis had progressed structurally.
Accordingly, those with Heberden’s nodes experienced more thickening of the bones surrounding their knee joints indicated that their arthritis was progressing.
This means that you and your doctors can use your fingers to predict knee arthritis and probably other types of arthritis.
This is not only a cheaper and more convenient method than MRIs but can also help to indicate that you must start taking action to cope with arthritis even before you start experiencing any pain.