Hand, Thumb, and Wrist Arthritis
Hand, Wrist & Thumb Arthritis Overview
Arthritis is the inflammation of joint bone, cartilage and soft tissue. Two types of arthritis affect the hand, thumb and wrist:
- Osteoarthritis. “Wear and tear” arthritis.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Immune system arthritis.
Early arthritis treatment is always best. A nonsurgical treatment plan reduces symptoms and prevents the condition from becoming worse. Patients who experience arthritis of the hand, thumb or wrist symptoms are encouraged to make an appointment with a Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates’ (CONA) hand specialist as soon as possible.
Symptoms & Causes
Arthritis of the hand, thumb and wrist symptoms include:
- Decreased range of motion
- Difficulty moving the joint
- Difficulty gripping, grabbing and holding onto objects
Wear and tear associated with aging is the most common osteoarthritis cause. Early-onset osteoarthritis after an accident or injury is another cause. Rheumatoid arthritis causes are not yet known.
Nonsurgical treatment options treat the majority arthritis of the hand, thumb and wrist cases. After a thorough evaluation, a CONA hand specialist may recommend:
- Activity modification
- A removable brace
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
- Physical therapy
- Rest, ice, compression, elevation
- Rheumatoid arthritis medications
Surgery may be a recommended treatment option when severe arthritis does not respond to nonsurgical treatment options. Board-Certified and Fellowship-Trained CONA hand specialists perform all minimally invasive and open procedures. Arthritic bone, cartilage and tissue are treated so the joint can move freely and easily without pain.
A CONA hand specialist:
- Obtains a medical history, which includes a list of all symptoms, medical conditions and injuries
- Performs a series of physical examinations
- Orders and analyzes medical imaging studies, including x-rays and possibly an MRI, CT scan and bloodwork
Arthritis type and severity are accurately diagnosed