(HealthDay News) — Forty percent of people will be affected by symptomatic osteoarthritis in at least one hand, according to research published in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

The study team was led by Jin Qin, ScD, of the Arthritis Program at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The researchers looked at 1999 to 2010 data on 2,218 individuals from North Carolina, ages 45 or older. The information collected included symptoms the participants reported as well as hand X-rays.

The researchers found that women were at higher risk than men, with nearly half of women (47.2%) developing hand arthritis. Only about a quarter of men had hand arthritis (24.6%). Whites were more prone to the condition than blacks, with rates of 41.4% and 29.2%, respectively. Excess weight was also a risk factor for hand arthritis. Lifetime risk among obese people was 47.1%, compared to 36.1% for non-obese people.

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“These findings demonstrate the substantial burden of symptomatic hand osteoarthritis overall and in subgroups,” the authors write. “Increased use of public health and clinical interventions is needed to address its impact.”


  1. Qin J, Barbour KE, Murphy LB, et al. Lifetime risk of symptomatic hand osetoarthritis: The Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2017. doi:10.1002/art.40097