Medical question for the board...

I am a golfer, used to be a 1 handicap, and was serious about my game. I have osteo arthritis in my fingers in both hands. My hands don’t hurt much, but I can’t make a good fist, so I can’t grip the club as tightly as a need to. My fingers won’t bend much and are stiff. This condition has been coming on for several years.

I have been to a hand surgeon, my family doctor, a hand therapist for therapy. The docs all said there is no cure for this. They advised me to exercise my fingers and take anti-inflammatories before I play. I have read everything I could find on the internet from Harvard Medical, Web MD and lots of other websites. I have tried larger and larger grips to the super jumbo. I taped my fingers…I have tried every thing I know to do.

At this time, I have resumed exercising my fingers 3 times/ day as my therapist recommends.

Do any of you guys have any cures or recommendations? I haven’t played golf in 7-8 months because I just could not grip the club tight enough or well enough to enjoy the game. I would appreciate any help. Thank you.

One of my golf buddies is a GP with this condition. It really is debilitating. He has gone to the largest grips, and he is trying to switch his grip more to his fingers, less palm.

He recently has had some luck with golf gloves for people with arthritis. They’re extra thick and some have copper in them.

The best ansaid anti-inflammatory I have found is diclofenac, if your stomach can stand it. Start with 50 mg twice a day, after supper and breakfast. Take it year round, not just after a round. When 50 mg is not strong enough, go up to 75 mg twice a day. Get your MD to write you an rx for it, 50 mg, twice a day, every day.

Soak your hands in very hot water, as hot as you can stand it, before and after a round. Very healing powers.

Learn to swing with a looser grip. It can be done.

I’ll let you know if I think of anything else.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition. It is a “wear and tear” thing. It is not reversible

Anti-inflammatories may be an option, but is something you should discuss with your physician, as there are numerous risks. There is risk of gastrointestinal irritation, ulceration, and bleeding; there is a slight cardiovascular risk, and also a risk of kidney impairment. They should be taken cautiously.

Glucosamine/chondroitin is one of the few OTC supplements which actually has solid study evidence of benefit.

That’s my medical advice.

When it comes to advice as to how to adjust your golf game, grip, etc., I am worthless

Thank you for your help. I don’t like medicine, so I don’t take much anti-inflammatory stuff. Just a couple of Aleve, occasionally.

I will try to joint supplements.

It is strange that so many people have arthritis, but so little is known about how to stop or cure it. I guess that is because it is not a killer disease or a horrible condition, but it is not a great thing to have…I know that.

NSAIDS decrease inflammation which leads to destruction of joints so that should be your first line of treatment. Not prn(as needed) but routinely. Best advice is to see a rheumatologist.

I have to agree with docestes on this one. Routine use of NSAIDs is risky. GI bleeding, kidney impairment, etc. Seems like taking a big chance just to get a few more rounds in, and I was a very avid golfer in my time (although not very good). Found this link about chondroitin at the Arthritis Foundation website:

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Isn’t this the condition Mickelson has? Has ever talked about what he’s doing to maintain his high level of play?

stem cells hold the most promise, requires harvesting and injection skill. Many practitioners, but few skilled. Cold filtered white fat harvested stem cells are reasonably cost effective especially for large joints, have some neural regenerative potential but are mostly utilized routinely only in Europe. The healing potential for the damaged joint is high using stem cells which cannot be achieved with steroids, methotrexate or NSAIDS. You are doing all that can be done easily.

there are commercial enterprises that offer stem cell therapy and they are all over the U.S., OA is hard as heck to treat for patient satisfaction. I have been around some plastic surgeons who work with stem cells for neural regeneration and been successful. … l-studies/

There is one U.S. academic leader in regenerative medicine, The University of Pittsburgh McGowan Regenerative Center:

Stem cell treatment has come a long way in the last 5 years and will continue to evolve into more routine use, it is not a miracle and frequently has more hope than results.

I am 66 years old and also was a scratch golfer that developed osteo arthritis in my late 50’s, I decided to shave my left wrist and wrap some atheletic tape around it not to tight but tight enough to give me some support. My Dr. also prescribed me a product called Voltaren Gel which is for arthritis, it comes in a tube. It reduces the pain quickly. Do not go to oversize grips, they will ruin your golf game, you will never be able to get the club head speed you desire with an oversize grip, Good Luck and good golfing.’