297 High Street
Dedham, MA 02026
at base of hand
Low-profile, allows full
functional use of hand
Full support where needed,
less restriction elsewhere
A leading cause of pain in the wrist and hand area is wrist arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type and has been reported to affect over 60% of adults 60 and over. Wrist Arthritis is caused when the protective cartilage (the slick, cushioning surface on the ends of bones) wears to the point that bone rubs against bone, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. Because the wrist is a complex joint made up of the eight small carpal bones and the two longer bones of the forearm, pain and swelling can occur anywhere throughout the wrist region.
The first step is ensuring you have the correct diagnosis.
Wrist arthritis pain can often be confused with other types of wrist pain – including Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - and it is important to know the difference for effective treatment.
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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Wrist arthritis is characterized by pain that is localized to the joint and that worsens with movement, or heavy use, but typically resolves with rest. Swelling and redness over the wrist joint are also common as arthritis progresses, and grinding or clicking may be felt with motion. An accurate diagnosis requires an examination by a medical professional.
Conservative treatment for wrist arthritis typically includes some combination of the following: application of heat or ice, over-the-counter pain medications, and the use of a splint or hand brace to support and rest the wrist joint. Wrist supports may be recommended to help with proper joint alignment, to restrict motion in order to rest the joint, to provide soothing warmth and compression, or for any combination of these. Arthritic wrist splints intended for daytime use help improve functional ability, while nighttime wrist splints are designed to restrict movement for rest.
When conservative treatments are no longer effective, a doctor may recommend injections or, ultimately, surgery.
Home modifications and/or adaptive equipment are another strategy for improving daily function while suffering from wrist arthritis pain. Large handle grips on dining utensils to help with weakened grasp, doorknob openers that limit twisting, and jar openers that help compensate for weakness are all examples of everyday household wrist arthritis aids.