Arthritis Pain of the Hand and Wrist
The hands and wrists are common sites for arthritis to develop. Dealing with arthritis pain of the hands and wrist can be challenging, but treatment and lifestyle modifications can reduce pain and help you manage your symptoms.
There are many types of arthritis that can cause pain in the hands and wrists. The most common of these include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type of arthritis. Also called degenerative arthritis, it's caused by wear and tear gradually breaking down the cartilage. This allows the bones to rub against each other, which over time causes pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: This type of arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. It occurs when the body's immune system attacks its own tissues, leading to inflammation and pain.
Symptoms of arthritis in the hands and wrists include:
- Pain in the hands and wrists
- Pain that is dull or burning
- Pain that increases after increased use of the hands
- Swelling in the joints
- Tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers
There are many treatment options available to alleviate arthritis pain in the hands and wrists. There is no known cure for arthritis, but proactive treatment can minimize your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
- Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can decrease inflammation and pain due to arthritis in the hand and wrist.
- Bracing or Splinting: Wearing a splint or brace at night can also be helpful in reducing arthritis pain, especially for arthritis in the wrist.
- Reducing Joint Stress: Resting your hand and wrist at regular intervals can help reduce pain and swelling.
- Hot and Cold Packs: Applied in alternating 20-minute intervals, heat can reduce stiffness while cold can reduce pain and swelling.
- Physical Therapy (PT): Physical therapy is an important part of arthritis treatment. A physical therapist can prescribe exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the affected joints, helping to ease arthritis pain and improve range of motion.
- Injections: Patients who need temporary pain relief or who do not wish to undergo surgery may benefit from corticosteroid injections. These can reduce inflammation and ease arthritis pain.
- Surgery: In severe cases, arthritis pain may be helped by undergoing surgery. Surgery may involve joint fusion, joint replacement, or arthroscopic surgery to repair arthritis damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Arthritis can be caused by a number of factors, including age, genetics, overuse injuries from repetitive movements, and autoimmune conditions.
A diagnosis of arthritis generally begins with a physical exam and evaluation of your medical history. Your doctor may also order imaging tests (such as x-rays or MRIs) to help confirm the diagnosis and identify any other potential underlying conditions.
There is no cure for arthritis, but treatment can help lessen your symptoms.
With treatment, arthritis can be managed and stabilized, and in many cases, symptoms can improve significantly.
There is no single best treatment approach for arthritis of the hand and wrist. An orthopedic surgeon can recommend a treatment plan for you based on your condition, severity, and individual needs.
If you are experiencing severe pain or mobility limitations due to arthritis of the hand and wrist, you should consult an orthopedic surgeon. He or she will be able to evaluate your symptoms and recommend whether surgery may be appropriate for you.