Around one in every seven adults in the U.S. have arthritis in one or both wrists. Arthritis in any part of your body can be painful and debilitating. In your hands or wrists, it can make it difficult to get through your day. Routine tasks like getting dressed, typing on a computer, or even driving can become painful or even impossible to do.
The symptoms of arthritis usually include pain, swelling of the joints, and loss of motion. However, these symptoms may be very mild at first. In some cases, they may even come and go. You may experience pain for several days, only to have it disappear for weeks or more.
Because the symptoms vary and may come and go, many individuals wait to seek a diagnosis or treatment for their arthritis. However, like most diseases and conditions, early diagnosis and treatment may allow you to stop the progression of arthritis and stop or slow the pain.
Surgery is a common form of treatment for arthritis. But can you treat hand and wrist arthritis without surgery? Keep reading as we discuss what types of arthritis affect the hands and wrists, and your St George hand and wrist surgery experts weigh in on whether you can treat your pain without surgery.
What is Arthritis?
While it’s often used as a blanket term, arthritis actually refers to many different types of joint pain and joint diseases. In total, there are more than 100 different types of arthritis and similar conditions that tend to get grouped under the term.
Despite referring to many different types of joint conditions, most cases of arthritis cause similar symptoms. Pain and swelling in the affected joints are often the most common symptoms, as well as the first signs that something is wrong. Stiffness and a diminished range of motion often follow.
While arthritis is more common in older individuals, it can occur at any age. The disease is not a result of aging, though conditions can develop and worsen over long periods of time. Some cases of arthritis are caused by repetitive motion, while others may be the result of an autoimmune disorder, bacterial or fungal infection, or a variety of other types of conditions.
What are the Most Common Types of Hand and Wrist Arthritis?
There are over a hundred types of arthritis. But most cases of chronic pain in your hand or wrist are the result of a few specific types of arthritis.
One of the most common types of wrist arthritis is osteoarthritis. In fact, osteoarthritis is overall the most common type of arthritis. Over 32 million adults in the U.S. today suffer from osteoarthritis. Sometimes referred to as “wear and tear” arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in your joints begins breaking down. As a result, the bone of the joint is damaged over time as well. This condition is one that gets worse over time, causing progressive pain, swelling, and stiffness. Certain lifestyle factors, such as carrying excess weight, eating a poor diet, or not getting the recommended amount of exercise for your age may also contribute to this type of arthritis.
Another common form of arthritis that affects the wrist is posttraumatic arthritis. This form of arthritis has similar symptoms to osteoarthritis. But instead of occurring as a result of cartilage breaking down over time, posttraumatic arthritis occurs as a result of a joint injury. This form of arthritis can occur following a broken bone or torn ligament.
The final form of arthritis that commonly impacts the wrist is inflammatory arthritis. This type of arthritis occurs in individuals with autoimmune diseases. The patient’s immune system attacks the joint, causing damage that leads to pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of motion. Rheumatoid arthritis is a common type of arthritis caused by an autoimmune disorder.
These are not the only forms of arthritis that can impact the joints in your wrists or hands, but they are the most common. Today, there are no cures for arthritis. However, there are a variety of treatment options available.
Can You Treat Hand and Wrist Arthritis Without Surgery?
Arthritis is sometimes treated with surgery. However, you may be able to treat your hand or wrist arthritis without surgery.
The best thing to do is to talk to your St George hand and wrist surgery experts. They can work with you to diagnose your condition and assess how much your joint damage has progressed. From there, we may recommend a variety of different non-surgical treatment options.
Because arthritis in your hand and wrist is a degenerative condition that causes damage to your cartilage and bones over time, one of the first non-surgical treatment options is splinting. Splinting your wrist can help to slow the damage, and reduce pain and swelling in your joints.
Corticosteroid injections are another non-surgical treatment option. These injections can help reduce pain and swelling, helping you get back to using your hands and wrists with less pain.
Treating Hand and Wrist Arthritis With Surgery
Non-surgical treatment options are often the first line of defense against arthritis in your hands and wrists. However, if these non-surgical treatment options don’t provide relief, or if your arthritis has progressed past a certain point, surgery may offer a better alternative.
During a surgical procedure for arthritis in your wrist, your surgeon may replace, fuse, or reconstruct your affected joint. Surgery may offer a long-term solution to help you regain the use of your wrists and to get back to enjoying your daily routine pain-free.
How Your St. George Hand and Wrist Surgery Experts Can Help
Whether you’ve already been diagnosed with arthritis in your hands or wrists, your St. George Utah Hand Surgery experts can help. We work with patients to get to the root of their pain with a diagnosis, before exploring treatment options. We’ll help you explore your non-surgical and surgical options to find the solution that can get you back to living pain-free.
If you’re suffering from pain in your hands or wrists as a result of arthritis or any number of other conditions, we can help. Schedule an appointment with the best St George hand and wrist surgery experts today to get started.