Early signs of arthritis in the wrist
The early signs of arthritis in the wrist include
- Morning stiffness
- Stiffness while moving the joint
- Loss of range of motion
- Deformity of joints of the wrist
- Loss of joint function
- Weakness of the wrist
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
Some other causes of wrist arthritis include
What is wrist arthritis?
Wrist arthritis is inflammation (swelling) of one or more joints of the wrist. Wrist arthritis is long-lasting or permanent and eventually causes severe joint damage. The wrist is a complex joint that is made up of multiple small joints. The bones glide over each other during movement. The ends of the bones are covered by smooth cartilage that coats the joint surfaces. Arthritis affects the cartilage, wearing it out gradually. The loss of cartilage can result in the bones rubbing against each other further, leading to irreparable joint damage.
Treatment can delay the progression of joint damage, but cannot reverse it completely. With proper treatment, many people successfully manage their symptoms and stay active.
How do you diagnose wrist arthritis?
The physicians diagnose wrist arthritis with the help of the following tests
- X-rays: X-rays of the wrist can help the doctor to identify the exact location and severity of arthritis.
- Blood tests: Blood tests may help to determine the type of arthritis a patient has. For rheumatoid arthritis and other types of inflammatory arthritis, blood tests are important for precise diagnosis. Osteoarthritis does not present any blood abnormalities.
What is the treatment for wrist arthritis?
The goals of treatment for arthritis involve
- Pain relief
- Improving the range of motion
- Development of strength and stamina
- Prevention of deformities
- Providing counseling to the patient
The treatment approach involves treating the disease with drugs, physiotherapy or lifestyle modifications.
Drugs that are used to treat wrist arthritis include
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): ibuprofen, naproxen
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs): sulfasalazine, leflunomide
- Immunosuppressants: methotrexate
- Corticosteroids: prednisolone
Surgical treatment addresses inflammation of the membrane lining of joints, which involves
- Proximal row carpectomy: In this surgery, the physician removes three carpal bones in the row of bones that is closest to the forearm.
- Fusion: If hand motion causes pain, the doctor may recommend a fusion method. Fusion involves fusing two bones to a single bone.
- Arthroplasty (total wrist replacement): The physician removes the damaged cartilage and bone and replaces those with new metal or plastic joint surfaces.
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American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons