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Arthritis of the Wrist


Most wrist pain is caused by two different types of arthritis, despite there being many different types.

The first type is Rheumatoid Arthritis, or RA. This is an inflammatory disease that destroys the bones, joints and tissues since it affects the joint linings. Usually it starts in the smaller hand and wrist joints. This arthritis type is symmetrical, which means that it will affect the same joint on both parts of the body (like the wrist or hands).

The second type of arthritis is Osteoarthritis. It slowly destroys the smooth cartilage that covers the end of the bones. OA causes these bones to rub together, which results in the patient suffering in weakness, pain and stiffness of the wrist. This type of arthritis can also develop from normal usage and ‘wear and tear’ of the patient’s wrist. Osteoarthritis can also be developed due to significant injury of the wrist, forearm, or ligaments.


Usually the symptoms of wrist arthritis are limited to the wrist joint only. They include limited motion, weakness, pain, as well as swelling.


Nonsurgical treatment is usually recommended as early treatment since it’s designed to help relieve any swelling and pain. It is also recommended to try various therapies to treat arthritis, for example:

  • Immobilizing your wrist movement by getting a splint.
  • Receiving steroid injections into the joint.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or aspirin may assist.
  • Modifying some of your activities to be less strenuous.
  • Talking to your orthopedic doctor and getting a prescribed program for wrist exercises.


If nonsurgical methods are not as effective as they should be, the patient can look into surgical treatments, especially if the function of the wrist and hand deteriorates. Wrist arthritis surgery is supposed to relieve pain from the wrist.

The possible surgical methods for treatment include:

  • Joint replacement
  • Joint fusion (which causes the joint to become solid and prevents further wrist movement)
  • Removing the afflicted arthritic bones

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Samimi to learn more about wrist arthritis surgery and treatment options click here.

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