Improving finger mobility for crippling condition | Action Medical Research

Improving finger mobility for crippling condition

1 September 2000
Medical specialists in Wigan are investigating ways of improving treatment for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, thanks to a cash boost by Action Research. The leading medical research charity, famous for its efforts to help overcome disease and disability, is funding more than £26,000 into a pioneering project at Wrightington Hospital NHS Trust, Wigan, evaluating the long term benefit of finger joint replacements. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic joint disease and a predominant cause of disability in older people, affecting about 600,000 in the UK. Although there are varying degrees of severity, the majority of patients ultimately lose hand function. Finger joint replacements can restore such patients’ ability to perform simple everyday tasks, and there were 133 such operations at Wrightington’s Hand and Upper Limb Unit last year. Although results have shown positive results in the short-term, there is currently little research into their long-term effectiveness and the rates of failure of these implants. During the two-year study, Action Researchers at the Hand and Upper Limb Unit at Wrightington Hospital, will be reviewing patients with finger joint replacements in a bid to identify those who are at risk of early failures, prior to them being admitted for surgery. Leading the research, Mr Ian Trail says: ‘Additional steps could then be taken in these cases, either to prolong the lifetime of the implant, or alternatively to consider another procedure.’ Action Research has funded many projects related to arthritis. The charity is currently funding a two-year project at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford, where specialists are investigating ways of combating bone destruction - a crippling complication of rheumatoid arthritis. Action Research launched its Touching Lives campaign this year, which aims to raise £1.5m for vital medical research to benefit children and families across the UK. The charity’s website offers a comprehensive insight into the charity and the work it funds, along with other online fundraising activities. Visit the site at For further media and press information, please contact Nicole Duckworth in the Action Research press office on 01403 327403 Fax: 01403 210541, or email
Help us spread the word