I have mentioned here before that my mom’s rheumatoid arthritis was most obvious in her hands. Did you know that “arthritis hands” are practically famous? This brings me to week eight (and all caught up) in my series on “42 things you might not know about arthritis”.
There is an awesome community collage project called Show Us Your Hands! that was inspired by a blogger superhero named Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy, who wrote that he is proud of his hands for what they have endured. It has grown into an international awareness movement that is helping to unite and inspire people with inflammatory types of arthritis. As the project says, “Inflammatory arthritis hands are a visible sign of the enormous strength of people who experience so much pain, that their hands are literally being pulled out of shape.”
It works something like this: rheumatoid arthritis affects the cells that lubricate and line joints. This tissue becomes inflamed and swollen, and the swollen tissues stretch the supporting structures of the joints, such as ligaments and tendons. As the support structures stretch out, the joints become deformed and unstable.
I don’t think I have any pictures of my mom’s hands. Heck, I hardly have any pictures of my mom. But if you look at the hundreds of photos in the interactive collage, you’ll see what arthritis hands look like, and that there’s whole online community where people with inflammatory arthritis can support each other. I wish my mom had known that. In her own way, she was proud of her hands too.