Wrist arthritis – How to conquer it?

Wrist arthritis is a common enough disease simply because the wrist is used many times a day, making the joints in the wrist particularly vulnerable to wear and tear.

What are the causes?

Arthritis of the wrist may be caused by a number of reasons.

  • The most common cause is osteoarthritis, which is the result of continuous use of the wrist joints. So, you could hurt your wrist joints as a result of any number of activities from chopping vegetables to playing squash or even fishing. For instance, riding mountain bikes can lead to the development of ‘handlebar palsy’, which leads to pain and numbness in the wrist. Repetitive activities like these lead to the gradual wearing away of cartilage and ultimately lead to arthritis in the wrist.
  • In some cases, previous injury could be the cause. It could be that you sustained a fall and you tried to break your fall using your hands to support yourself. In the process, if the bones at the wrist have been broken, this could lead to the development of arthritic wrists in the long run.
  • Wrist instability is also a leading cause of wrist arthritis. When the ligaments and bones in the wrist sustain small injuries, there is instability in the area and results in abnormal movements, which in turn lead to arthritic wrists.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis can also be at the bottom of wrist arthritis. This occurs when bacteria cause inflammation in the lining of the joints. Inflammation spreads silently and becomes so severe that bones and cartilage get destroyed. Patients suffering from wrist arthritis resulting from rheumatoid arthritis could also suffer from arthritis in the finger joints.

How can wrist arthritis be treated?

Lifestyle changes: Avoiding activities that place the wrists under stress is the best way to avoid symptoms and arrest the progress of the disease.

Wrist splints, magnetic wrist straps: A number of devices such as copper bracelets and magnetic straps have been used to arrest pain and support movement.

However, recent studies have suggested that the use of such devices may have little to limited effect when it comes to managing pain and promoting activity.

Medication: Anti-inflammatory medication (commonly called as NSAIDs) can help reduce pain in patients. In case of acute pain, cortisone injections may be administered directly into the site of pain and swelling.

However, these injections provide temporary relief only and can have undesirable side effects if use for long periods.

Surgery: This is the least common treatment option. However, if symptoms are severe, doctors may resort to surgical options like wrist fusion and wrist replacement.

Arthritis is a degenerative condition, meaning symptoms get worse with time. Early detection is undoubtedly the secret to effective management of the condition.



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