As with all arthritis, wrist arthritis
is related to the loss of cartilage between the wrist bones. Cartilage is the smooth material around the bone that allows bones to work together. Without it, the bones are too close together, which can be painful. There are a few different types of wrist arthritis, including:
- Midcarpal arthritis, which involves the row of small carpal bones in the wrist (there are 8)
- Radiocarpal arthritis, which is where the carpal bones and forearm bones (the radius and ulna) meet
- Distal radioulnar arthritis, which is where the radius meets the ulna at the wrist
So, what causes wrist arthritis? Here are three potential reasons you could be suffering from this condition:
- Natural wear-and-tear: Sometimes, there's nothing you can do to prevent wrist arthritis. Natural wear-and-tear over time can cause it, and it's very common. This is called degenerative arthritis.
- Auto-immune issues: Inflammatory wrist arthritis can happen if your body’s immune cells begin to attack their own cartilage.
- Trauma: Sometimes, a traumatic incident such as a fall, a car accident or a sports injury can cause wrist arthritis to develop. It's typically associated with a broken bone when the bone doesn't heal properly.
If you have wrist arthritis, you may feel pain when turning the palm up and down (specifically with distal radioulnar arthritis). In general, you may feel pain, stiffness and swelling in your wrist area. If you think you may have wrist arthritis, visit a hand surgeon as soon as possible. Hand surgeons can treat everything from your hand, wrist, fingers, arm and even shoulder.
Your surgeon may present a variety of treatment options, including receiving a cortisone shot, wearing a splint, changing your activities, or surgery. Your treatment plan will be specific to you and your symptoms.