After the basal thumb joint the commonest joint affected by arthritis in the hand is the distal interphalangeal joint (end joint) of the index finger. This can present with pain, swelling and deformity.
They can frequently be associated with pearl ganglions or mucous cysts whereby the underlying arthritis results in a ganglion being formed. It is important to realise here that the ganglion is secondary to the underlying arthritis. Simple excision of the ganglion may well not treat the arthritis which can continue to cause pain.
Treatment depends on the severity of disease. In mild cases simple analgesia will suffice. This is a particularly painful joint to inject with steroid so this is not routinely offered. In severe cases, the most reliable surgical treatment will be a fusion. This is usually done using wires in a tension band fashion which require removal at a later stage.
Digital arthritis affecting the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIPJ) ie the middle joint and the metacarpophalangeal joint (MPJ) can be treated surgically with joint replacement or fusion depending on the individual case and also the location of disease. Your surgeon will discuss this with you.