Minimize the Uncomfortable Symptoms of Wrist Arthritis
Wrist arthritis typically involves soreness, stiffness, and inflammation within the joints of the wrist due to inflamed and degenerated cartilage. Cartilage is the cushioning tissue between the joints. As it wears down, the joints begin to rub against each other, causing damage to the bones and surrounding soft tissues. Arthritis can be painful and result in reduced range of motion. If left untreated, it can cause joint deformity and complete loss of function At his Austin, TX, practice, Dr. Gregg Vagner offers different treatments to help patients manage the symptoms of wrist arthritis, allowing them to lead a full and active lifestyle.
Explaining Basic Wrist Anatomy
Types of Wrist Arthritis
There are three common types of arthritis that affect the wrists, including:
- Osteoarthritis (OA): Also known as degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis is typically the result of the natural aging process or overuse. As you age, cartilage within your wrist joints naturally wears down.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes increased inflammation within the body to attack the cartilage and surrounding soft tissues within your joints. The key to reducing symptoms is controlling the inflammation within your body.
- Post-Traumatic Arthritis: This type of arthritis typically occurs after a traumatic injury, such as a wrist or hand fracture.
Dr. Vagner is double certified in both orthopedic surgery and hand surgery, fully equipped and experienced to provide you with the care you need.
Signs and Symptoms
You may have wrist arthritis if you are experiencing symptoms such as:
- Acute or chronic pain and swelling
- Joint stiffness
- Muscle or joint weakness
- Limited range of motion
- Clicking or grinding sound when moving your wrist
For mild to moderate cases of wrist arthritis, you may notice increased pain when gripping items, restricted movement during daily tasks, or joint stiffness, especially when waking in the morning.
In severe cases, pain is greater and virtually chronic, even when resting. Once it reaches this level, there is noticeable decreased range of motion and joint deformity. Patients generally need medication simply to function throughout the day.
Treating Wrist Arthritis
To begin the diagnostic process, Dr. Vagner will perform a physical examination with a series of range of motion tests, as well as x-ray imaging and blood work. This will help him determine the extent of damage as well as the type of wrist arthritis you are experiencing.
Although wrist arthritis is incurable, there are a variety of treatments available that can help manage symptoms and reduce the frequency of arthritis flare-ups, such as:
- Modifying activities that aggravate pain
- Wearing wrist splints
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin
- Rotating heat and ice to reduce pain and swelling
- Light exercising and physical therapy to strengthen soft tissues and promote full range of motion
- Steroid injections to reduce inflammation
- Surgical treatment
Wrist surgery can include joint fusion, reconstructive surgery, or joint replacement, depending on the severity of your wrist arthritis. Dr. Vagner will try a variety of conservative treatments before resorting to surgery. He is double certified in both orthopedic surgery and hand surgery, fully equipped and experienced to provide you with the care you need.
Contact Us Today
It is important to contact our offices right away if you have wrist pain in order to help prevent further injury and decreased range of motion. To schedule your consultation with Dr. Vagner, contact us online or call (512) 476-2830 to speak to a member of our team.