Wrist Arthritis

What is it?

Arthritis is caused by damage to the cartilage of your joints. This damage can be caused by trauma, wear and tear, or inflammation.

Trauma, such as a fractured wrist, can directly damage the wrist cartilage. It can also misalign the wrist, causing increased wear and tear, which leads to early arthritis.

Natural wear and tear is called osteoarthritis. This is similar to the majority of arthritis that affects the other large joints, such as the knee or hip.

Inflammatory arthritis include conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. These types of arthritis is caused by inflammation of the joints and release of inflammatory chemicals that directly damage the cartilage of the wrist. Inflammatory arthritis can affect both the young and the old.

What are the symptoms?

Arthritis can cause pain, swelling and stiffness in your wrist. 

Initially, the symptoms can be on and off. Small events, such as knocking it against a door, can ‘set it off’ and cause pain for a few days or weeks.

Once the arthritis becomes more severe, the pain and symptoms can become more severe and more constant. In advanced arthritis, any movement becomes painful, the wrist and hand becomes week, and there is pain at rest.

Wrist pain can also radiate into the fingers or up into the elbows or shoulders. 

what is the treatment?

A thorough assessment is needed to determine exactly which type of arthritis you have.

Inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis can often be managed successfully with rheumatoid oral medication in the early stage.

For osteoarthritis and arthritis after trauma, injections and physiotherapy are good ways to treat this condition in the early stage.

A number of surgical treatments are available to treat arthritis. Minimally invasive methods include keyhole surgery to debride arthritic areas to delay the need for more major surgery. Other surgical treatments include partial wrist fusions, total wrist fusions, or total wrist replacements to improve patient symptoms and function.

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