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Arthritis of Wrist

Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. A joint is where the ends of bones meet. Inflammation causes swelling, pain, and stiffness in the joint.

Arthritis in their wrist and hand, makes it difficult for them to do daily activities. There are two types of Arthritis of the wrist:


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a progressive condition that destroys the smooth articular cartilage covering the ends of bones. When the bare bones rub against each other, it results in pain, stiffness, and weakness.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease that attacks multiple joints throughout the body. Rheumatoid arthritis often starts in smaller joints, like those found in the hand and wrist.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means that the immune system attacks its own tissues. In RA, the defenses that protect the body from infection instead damage normal tissue (such as cartilage and ligaments) and soften bone.

Rheumatoid arthritis often affects the joint between the two bones of the forearm, the radius and ulna. It can soften and erode the ulna which can cause tearing of the tendons that straighten your fingers. This can result in joint deformity, such as bent wrists and gnarled fingers.


Osteoarthritis of the wrist joint causes swelling, pain, limited motion, and weakness. These symptoms are usually limited to the wrist joint itself.

Several therapies can be used to treat arthritis, including:

  • Modifying your activities. Limiting or stopping the activities that make the pain worse is the first step in relieving symptoms.
  • Immobilization. Keeping the wrist still and protected for a short time in a splint can help relieve symptoms.
  • Medication. Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, can reduce both pain and swelling.
  • Exercise. Following a prescribed exercise program. Specific exercises can improve the range of motion in your wrist.
  • Steroid injection. Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory medicine that can be injected into the wrist joint.

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