Wrist Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in the joints. Although it can affect any joint, the hands, knees, and hips are the most frequently affected.

Although there are different forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most prevalent variety. When the cartilage that protects the joints degenerates, arthritis of this type develops.

Pain, edema, and stiffness in the joint are all signs of wrist arthritis. Moving the joint may make the discomfort greater, and it could also feel warm to the touch. The joint’s range of motion may be restricted, and the wrist may feel flimsy.

Wrist arthritis patients complain of discomfort, stiffness, and edema. Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and wrist injuries can all cause inflammation in the wrist joint. 

Anti-inflammatory drugs, wrist braces, and steroid injections can all assist in reducing swelling and irritation. Rarely do people need surgery to improve their range of motion and reduce discomfort.

Learn more about arthritis in the wrist and where to find a wrist doctor or hand specialist. 

What Is Wrist Arthritis?

Arthritis in the wrist joint can cause inflammation and discomfort. Your wrist connects your hand and forearm, which are made of many little bones. 

The wrist joint allows you to bend, straighten, and rotate your hand. The arthritic joint in your wrist enlarges and swells with excruciating irritation.

How Frequently Does Wrist Arthritis Occur?

Throughout the day, you regularly use your wrists. As a result, they are more vulnerable to problems like arthritis. It is estimated that 1 in 7 Americans has wrist arthritis.

What Types of Arthritis Affect the Wrist?

In numerous areas of the wrist, joint inflammation is possible. Medical professionals divide wrist arthritis into the following groups based on where it is found:

  • At the intersection of the ulna and radius bones in the forearm, distal radioulnar arthritis appears.
  • Arthritis affects the eight small carpal bones in the center of the wrist.
  • The carpal bones are joined to the radius and ulna, the two forearm bones, by the radiocarpal joint.

What Causes Arthritis in The Wrist?

The wrist joint is a part of the skeletal system. Several bones make up the wrist joint.

Bones can readily slip past one another due to the cartilage-like connective tissue at their ends. 

With time and certain disorders, this cartilage may deteriorate and become weaker. The bones pushing against one another cause swelling, pain, and stiffness in an arthritic condition.

What Types of Arthritis Affect the Wrist?

The wrist may be impacted by a variety of forms of arthritis, including:

  • Gout: Gout can develop when the body’s blood has too much uric acid. Uric acid is created as waste when food is metabolized. Little, uncomfortable crystals grow in the joints due to the excess acid. Gout can damage the wrists and other small joints, even though it typically begins in the toes.
  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is the medical term for cartilage deterioration. As you age, it typically gets worse. Usually, it occurs after years of wrist joint injury. Some patients have a disorder called Kienbock’s disease, which inhibits blood flow to the wrist’s carpal bones. Osteoarthritis is brought on by cartilage loss.
  • Post-traumatic Arthritis: As a result of an accident, such as a bone fracture or sprain, post-traumatic arthritis can develop (ligament injury). After an injury, bones and ligaments can mend, but arthritis may still manifest years later.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis: Scaly skin patches are a symptom of the autoimmune disease psoriasis, which can cause psoriatic arthritis. Some psoriasis patients can develop psoriatic arthritis in their wrists and other joints.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune illness. Usually, it starts in little joints, like the wrists. The disease typically spreads to both sides of your body (wrists). In this form, the immune system attacks and damages healthy cells, including cartilage.

What Symptoms Indicate Wrist Arthritis?

Symptoms vary according to the underlying cause. Some people have significant symptoms that make it difficult to go about their daily lives. Others could encounter sporadic, slight symptoms.

Wrist pain is one of the early signs of wrist arthritis. The agony may intensify if you move your hand, attempt to open jars, or turn doorknobs. Various outcomes are possible.


Various types of arthritis can affect the wrist. The most common type is osteoarthritis, which can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. There are several arthritis in hands treatment options available for arthritis of the wrist, including medication, splinting, and surgery. If you are experiencing symptoms of arthritis, it is important to see a doctor for a diagnosis and to discuss your treatment options.

Hand & Wrist Center is led by Dr. Richard D. Curtis and Dr. Jose Baez, expertly-trained hand and wrist surgeons committed to providing patients with the absolute best care possible. We are a state-of-the-art surgical facility staffed by a team of dedicated practitioners whose primary goal is to ease any hand or wrist discomfort you may experience. Contact us for arthritis in hands treatment!