Arthritis in The Wrist: What It Is and How to Treat It
Developing arthritis in the wrist joint is incredibly common, especially as we age and our joints become worn.
Arthritis in the wrist can be incredibly painful, and can prevent sufferers from performing everyday activities such as typing on a keyboard, washing dishes, or doing anything else that involves a twisting motion of the hands.
There are many different types and causes of arthritis, but they are all characterized by inflammation of one or more joints, causing pain, stiffness and swelling of the affected area. The three most common types of arthritis that affect the wrist are:
- Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and usually occurs as a result of normal “wear-and-tear” of our wrist joints. When our wrist joints are used repeatedly for many years, the protective cartilage layer that covers the ends of the bones becomes worn down. This results in bones rubbing against each other, which causes inflammation and the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.
- Posttraumatic arthritis. If you suffer an injury to your wrist, such as a broken bone or a torn ligament, you may be at risk of developing posttraumatic arthritis. An injury like this may change the way your bones are aligned or how they interact with each other, which can cause the cartilage to wear away faster than normal. Posttraumatic arthritis often develops slowly, and patients may not experience any symptoms until years after the initial injury.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Rather than occurring from regular wear and tear, rheumatoid arthritis is actually a chronic autoimmune disease and occurs when our immune systems begin to attack our own, healthy tissues – specifically the lining of our joints, known as the synovium. This immune response causes inflammation, which leads to the pain, stiffness and swelling that arthritis patients experience. *If you think you have rheumatoid arthritis, you should speak to your family doctor or treating physician. Most OTC products, including CBDMEDIC™ products, are not designed to treat autoimmune diseases. This information is for educational purposes only.
What Are the Symptoms of Arthritis In the Wrist?
The earliest symptoms of arthritis in the wrist are tenderness and pain. Over time, joint redness and swelling may be visible, but during the early stages of the disease, it’s quite common for the joints to appear normal. The symptoms listed below are quite typical of arthritis:
- Prolonged pain of the wrist joints, stiffness, swelling or tenderness that lasts for longer than one month.
- Joint stiffness in your wrists that is particularly bad in the morning, and can last for 30 minutes or more.
- Symmetrical symptoms, i.e. both your left and right wrist joints are affected, and equally painful.
- Pain in other small joints, such as your hands and feet.
How is Arthritis in the Wrist Diagnosed?
If you mention wrist or wrist joint pain to your doctor, arthritis may be one of the first conditions they suspect you could have. In order to confirm this, the doctor will usually first ask you about your symptoms and your overall health, and ask whether you have a family history of arthritis. Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer to this – not all families get together to discuss their joint pain.
They will then examine your hand and wrist, looking for areas of pain and tenderness, assessing your range of motion, and checking for swelling, redness, or other changes in appearance.
They may wish to investigate further by
- requesting x-rays of your joints to assess whether there is a visible loss of cartilage.
- running some blood tests to check for elevated levels of inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein (CRP) or erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR/sed rate).
What Are the Best Ways to Find Some Relief?
Unfortunately, arthritis has no cure, but if you are suffering from this condition there are many ways to reduce the pain and manage your symptoms. Below are some suggestions for finding relief from painful arthritis symptoms in your wrists:
- Wrist exercises. Stretching and exercising your wrists is so important when it comes to managing your arthritis pain. When you don’t use your joints, the stiffness becomes worse, making it more painful to move. By exercising your wrists, you can increase blood flow, which helps to reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Pain relieving medications. Many people suffering from arthritis turn to medications to help ease their pain. Popular over-the-counter pain relief drugs containing acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) are popular, as are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen. However, there are dangers associated with using these drugs in the long-term, such as an increased risk of heart attack, or stomach ulcers. For this reason, many people prefer to use natural medications. Here you can learn more about arthritis pain relief medication.
- Topical creams. A soothing cream or ointment can provide an effective way to quickly see some improvement in your arthritis symptoms. If your wrist is tender or painful, try rubbing a topical cream over the affected area for short-term relief from your arthritis symptoms. Our arthritis hand cream harnesses the healing power of naturally-derived ingredients to provide you with rapid, targeted relief from painful arthritic symptoms.
Maintaining a healthy diet, resting on days when your symptoms are worse, and trying to reduce the amount of stress in your life may also help to improve the symptoms of arthritis in the wrist. Just because there’s no cure for arthritis, doesn’t mean you need to be in pain from your symptoms 24/7 – try the above techniques to start seeing immediate relief from your pain.