3 Common Types Of Wrist Arthritis & The Treatment Options
Do you ever stop to think about all the things your wrist allows you to do? From typing on a keyboard to throwing a ball, our wrists are essential to everyday activities. But what happens when wrist arthritis strikes? Suddenly, completing simple daily tasks becomes painful and difficult.
There is no need to worry though — wrist arthritis treatment is available to help manage the pain and stiffness as well as other symptoms you may be experiencing.
Keep reading to take a closer look at the three most common types of wrist arthritis and explore the various treatments available, so you can get back to doing the things you love with ease.
Learn more: A Guide To Hand And Wrist Arthritis
Types of Wrist Arthritis
There are three types of arthritis that can affect the wrist, each with its own unique causes, symptoms and treatment options.
1 . Osteoarthritis
This is a common type of arthritis that occurs when the cartilage in the wrist joint begins to wear down over time. Osteoarthritis can be caused by a variety of factors, including age, repetitive use and genetics.
As the cartilage wears away, the bones in the joint begin rubbing against each other, leading to pain, stiffness and swelling. Other symptoms include a reduced range of motion and a crunching or grinding sensation when moving the wrist. In more severe cases, bone spurs may also develop, which can cause further pain and joint damage.
Hence, seeking treatment from a hand and wrist specialist in Singapore early is crucial to help manage symptoms and improve joint function to maintain quality of life.
2. Rheumatoid arthritis
An autoimmune disorder that affects the joints, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues, leading to inflammation and damage. Unlike osteoarthritis, which is typically caused by wear and tear on the joints over time, rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of any age and is not related to a specific injury or trauma.
Symptoms of wrist rheumatoid arthritis include pain, swelling, stiffness and a reduced range of motion. The joint may also feel warm to the touch and tender to pressure. In some cases, it can also lead to the development of rheumatoid nodules, which are firm lumps that form under the skin near affected joints.
Although there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, wrist pain treatment in Singapore can still help improve joint mobility and reduce pain, allowing you to live a full and active life.
3. Posttraumatic arthritis
This is a type of arthritis that develops after an injury to the wrist, such as a ligament tear. While many wrist injuries heal with time and proper treatment, in some cases, the injury can cause damage to the joint which leads to the development of posttraumatic arthritis.
Symptoms include pain, stiffness and a reduced range of motion in the affected joint, and they may develop months or even years after the initial injury occurred. It is also important to note that an injured joint, even with proper treatment, is more susceptible to developing arthritis over time.
Hence, it is advisable to seek prompt treatment from a hand and wrist specialist in Singapore upon suffering an injury to the wrist to reduce the chances of posttraumatic arthritis.
Treatments for Wrist Arthritis
Wrist arthritis treatments range from non-invasive to surgical methods and the options you have are dependent on your condition and needs.
- Lifestyle modifications
Modifications to daily activities can be helpful — this may include using ergonomic tools to reduce strain on the wrists, taking breaks during repetitive tasks and avoiding activities that cause pain or discomfort.
Immobilising the wrist through the use of a splint, brace or cast helps to reduce stress and strain on the joint, preventing further damage and promoting healing. However, prolonged immobilisation can lead to muscle stiffness, which can make it more difficult to regain the full range of motion. For this reason, immobilisation is typically used as a short-term wrist arthritis treatment option in conjunction with other therapies, such as physical therapy.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications are usually prescribed to reduce inflammation in the affected joint, which can help alleviate pain and stiffness.
- Steroid injections
Cortisone, an anti-inflammatory medication, can be injected into the joint to provide relief from pain and inflammation but note that effects are usually short-term.
- Physical therapy
Another form of wrist arthritis treatment is physical therapy, which involves targeted exercises designed to improve joint mobility, strength and flexibility. This can be particularly effective for those with osteoarthritis or posttraumatic arthritis.
Surgical treatments are usually recommended for individuals with severe and debilitating symptoms that have not responded to other treatment approaches.
Proximal row carpectomy involves the removal of one of the wrist bones and is typically performed for individuals with arthritis localised to this region. The goal of the surgery is to preserve motion in the wrist while reducing pain and improving overall function.
Wrist fusion, on the other hand, involves fusing the bones of the wrist together so that painful bones do not rub against each other. It is an effective treatment approach if you suffer from widespread arthritis that affects multiple joints in the wrist.
Total wrist replacement is a more invasive surgical option that involves replacing the entire joint with an artificial joint. This approach is typically reserved for those with severe arthritis that affects multiple joints in the wrist and has not responded to other treatment approaches.
Do not let wrist arthritis slow you down
If you are experiencing wrist pain or discomfort, it is important not to ignore it. Seeking wrist arthritis treatment not only alleviates pain and discomfort, but also prevents the condition from worsening over time.
Let Dr Jacqueline Tan, our hand and wrist specialist, help you get back on track.