What is it?

Arthritis damages the soft cartilage that is found between bones. Without a smooth joint surface, the bones rub against each other, leading to joint damage.

Although there are many types of arthritis, the three that most commonly affect the wrist are:

  • Osteoarthritis– articular cartilage that covers the ends of the bones gradually wears away over time.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis– the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues such as cartilage and ligaments and can soften bone.
  • Posttraumatic arthritis- after a trauma to the wrist e.g. fracture, there can be direct injury to the joint cartilage or a wearing of the cartilage over time


Wrist arthritis often presents with pain, swelling, reduced movement or stiffness as well as weakness in the joint.

There is no cure for arthritis, but there are a number of treatments that may help reduce the frequency of your symptoms and relieve the pain and loss of function it can cause. Nonsurgical treatment options may include splinting, exercise, or education on joint protection strategies. Your hand therapist can assist you with these interventions.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, book an appointment.

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