The Bouchard-osteoarthritis is one of the finger arthritis. The middle joints of the fingers are particularly affected. Bulges appear on the joints. As the stage progresses, pain occurs and mobility of the affected finger is impaired.

What is Bouchard osteoarthritis?

According to polyhobbies, Heberdenarthrosis belong to the finger arthrosis. The outer finger joints are affected. If the thumb joint is affected, it is called rhizarthrosis. The term Bouchard osteoarthritis applies when the inner finger joints show visible and tangible changes.

Arthrosis of the finger joints is also known as polyarthrosis of the finger joints. This is a joint disease associated with wear and tear and a narrowing of the joint space. The cartilage layer, which is actually supposed to protect the joint, is gradually broken down.

Signs of illness and the course of the disease are very different. However, bulges and nodules appear on the affected joints. Temporary pain can also occur during exertion and at an advanced stage.


As for all finger arthrosis, the causes of Bouchard osteoarthritis are very diverse. Genetic factors play a big role. Healed fractures can also trigger polyarthroses. Since finger joint arthrosis mainly affects middle-aged women, hormonal factors also have an impact on the disease process.

Patients who suffer from osteoarthritis of the fingers are often affected by impairments in other joints. Symptoms often appear on other joints in the hands and feet, on the knee and hip joints and on the spine. If several joints are affected, it is known as polyarthrosis. This fact suggests that predisposition (genetic factors) and hormonal changes after menopause are the main triggers of this disease.

Symptoms, ailments & signs

The first signs are stiffness of the fingers after getting up, a feeling of tension and problems or pain with everyday movements. The middle joints of the fingers are also often swollen. The pain occurs in recurring attacks.

Often only at the beginning of an activity, they then gradually disappear again. However, some of those affected have no complaints either. They only notice an increasing deformation and stiffening of their fingers. These arise from bone additions to the joints.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease associated with a breakdown of the cartilage layer. If there is no more cartilage, bone rubs against bone when moving, causing pain. In the further course, pain also occurs in the resting state.

Diagnosis & course

A diagnosis begins with an initial consultation and the patient’s report on their complaints. It is important to point out working conditions, possible accidents and illnesses in close relatives. This is followed by a physical examination by checking the range of motion, skin changes, overheating, redness, swelling, sensitivity to tenderness and stability of the ligaments.

Imaging procedures then follow. An X-ray examination can show whether the joint space has changed or the bone has changed. Other measures include an ultrasound examination, MRI or CT scan and an examination of the synovial fluid.

A blood test provides information on inflammation values ​​and the rate of sedimentation. A reliable diagnosis requires a clear distinction between polyarthrosis and rheumatoid arthritis. The symptoms of both diseases are initially painful joints caused by inflammation.

While osteoarthritis is a joint disease with progressive cartilage breakdown, the joint-destroying inflammation in polyarthritis is caused by an autoimmune reaction of the body. The body’s own defense system begins to regard the articular cartilage as a foreign body and gradually destroys it.

Since the symptoms of polyarthrosis and polyarthritis are very similar in the early stages, a clear distinction is very difficult. This is often only possible at an advanced stage with the help of laboratory values ​​and x-rays.

The course of the disease of polyarthrosis extends over many years, this is especially true for osteoarthritis in the fingers. Pain only occurs at an advanced stage, but not in such a way that long-term therapy is necessary.


As a rule, Bouchard osteoarthritis severely restricts finger movement. The disease can initially only appear as swellings, then usually spreads through pain and ultimately leads to limitations in everyday life for the patient. The usual movement of the finger is then no longer possible for the patient.

The pain can occur either with movement or in the form of pain at rest. The fingers feel stiff, especially after getting up. In most cases, there is also deformation of the fingers and pain on pressure. The patient’s quality of life is greatly reduced by Bouchard’s osteoarthritis. Swelling and redness may also appear in the affected areas.

The main aim of the treatment is to maintain the mobility of the finger so that the everyday life of the person concerned is not restricted too much. The fingers are trained during therapies. There are no further complications or complaints. The pain and inflammation are suppressed with the help of medication. Life expectancy is not affected by Bouchard osteoarthritis.

When should you go to the doctor?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints in which the cartilage layer is gradually removed. As a rule, the later the treatment, the more pronounced the damage to the affected limbs. If you suspect osteoarthritis, you should therefore not wait long, but consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Arthrosis of the inner finger joints shows itself in the initial stage by feelings of stiffness and tension in the fingers, which mainly appear early in the morning after getting up. Often there is also slight pain and restrictions in everyday operations. Anyone who notices such symptoms should consult a doctor as soon as possible. This also applies if these disturbances quickly disappear on their own. In the early stages of osteoarthritis, it is completely normal for those affected not to suffer from the symptoms all the time. However, the disease continues to progress.

Some patients show neither pain nor impairment of the functionality of the fingers in the early stages. Instead, there is only a deformation and stiffening of the joints. In this case, too, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. This is especially true for women during or shortly before menopause, as the risk of this group of developing osteoarthritis is higher than average.

Treatment & Therapy

The aim of therapy is to maintain the mobility of the fingers. The initiative of those affected is particularly important here. The fingers need to be moved and strengthened. Corresponding exercises with a softball are tried and tested.

Since any further inflammation of the joints accelerates cartilage breakdown, it should be treated. It is therefore sensible and advisable to take anti-inflammatory painkillers until the inflammation process subsides. Alternatively, osteoarthritis medication based on plants can also be used.

Outlook & forecast

The prognosis for Bouchard’s osteoarthritis is unfavorable. The chronic disease has a progressive course that cannot be stopped with the current medical possibilities. The symptoms increase continuously over a long period of several years.

Various conventional medical methods and natural healing methods can significantly alleviate the symptoms. With the cooperation of the patient and his / her own initiative behavior, there is also the possibility of slowing down the progress of the disease. Nevertheless, it cannot be stopped entirely with the existing therapeutic approaches. Freedom from symptoms or recovery is also not achieved despite the therapeutic approaches taken.

Drug treatment, together with targeted training of the hands and fingers, can lead to an improvement in the general state of health. This is particularly helpful when coping with everyday life. The patient should ensure regular relief of the joints and at the same time actively pursue targeted muscle building. This can minimize the pain in the fingers. Various creams or ointments can be applied to help alleviate the symptoms.

Since inflammatory processes have a negative effect on the course of Bouchard’s osteoarthritis, the immune system should be stabilized. The first signs of inflammation should be treated as soon as possible in order not to unintentionally promote the progress of the disease.


While conventional medicine continues to claim that osteoarthritis is incurable, there is growing knowledge that bad eating habits have a not inconsiderable influence on the development and course of osteoarthritis. Even if a change in diet does not allow damaged cartilage tissue to grow again, a change in eating habits offers a better quality of life.

Apart from that, it is the best prerequisite for avoiding osteoarthritis in the first place. It is also particularly important to avoid or reduce excess weight. Anything that contains a lot of sugar is harmful. Too much unsaturated fats from animal products, from ready-to-eat foods and especially from baked goods not only promote obesity, but also increase inflammation in the body.

A healthy, balanced diet with lots of vegetables and fruit, few carbohydrates and lots of unsaturated fats from cold-pressed vegetable oils keeps you slim and healthy. Sufficient exercise is just as important, because this is the only way to supply the joints and especially the cartilage with nutrients.


Follow-up care is not possible for Bouchard osteoarthritis, as direct treatment of the disease is also not possible. The person concerned has to treat the disease himself by moving his fingers continuously in order to maintain mobility himself. Various exercises are available to the patient, which can also be performed at home and which have a positive effect on the course of the disease.

In the case of inflammation, medication should be taken regularly. Regular visits to a doctor are also necessary in order to check the current status of the disease and to avoid further complications. Painkillers also have an anti-inflammatory effect. A complete cure of Bouchard’s osteoarthritis is currently not possible, so that the person affected has to live with the symptoms his entire life.

However, the life expectancy of the patient is not negatively affected by the disease. A healthy diet and avoidance of obesity can also have a positive effect on the course of Bouchard osteoarthritis and alleviate it. If the illness also leads to psychological complaints or depression, a psychologist can also be consulted. An exchange of information with other sufferers of Bouchard osteoarthritis often proves to be very useful.

You can do that yourself

Middle joint arthrosis (Bouchard arthrosis) is treated either with medication, injections into the affected joint or surgically. In addition, the patients can also contribute to alleviating the symptoms themselves.

For many of those affected, osteoarthritis improves significantly by changing their diet. Regular consumption of pork and beef is particularly counterproductive. On the other hand, very good results were observed in those affected who followed a consistently vegetarian and largely vegan diet. In these people, a significant reduction in pain and stiffness of the joints could be determined after just a few weeks. Since changing the diet to a predominantly plant-based diet is a very mild and in many cases successful remedy, this should be tried by all those affected over a period of several weeks.

Physiotherapy exercises are also helpful. Specialized balls are available in specialist medical shops, with which patients can practice and exercise joint mobility. Anyone who plays a musical instrument that requires the use of their fingers should stick to this activity. Regular exercises on the piano in particular are ideally suited to maintain the mobility of the metacarpal. Many patients also benefit from bathing the affected joints in warm salt water or chamomile tea in the morning and evening.

In naturopathy, devil’s claw is prescribed for the treatment of osteoarthritis, which is available as tea, drops or juice.

Bouchard Osteoarthritis

Bouchard Osteoarthritis Guide