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Provider holding patient's arm and pushing on hand

If you’re looking for relief for arthritis in your wrist, we have a multi-specialty team dedicated to the latest treatment protocols to relieve your pain.

The Penn Integrated Hand Program consists of a team of surgeons, doctors and hand therapists who take a whole-body approach to diagnosing and treating arthritis. These experts work together as a seamless unit to provide a wide range of treatments, not just surgery, and help you return to an active, pain-free lifestyle.

We specialize in providing recommendations that take into account your lifestyle, personal preferences and other factors. If we decide that surgical intervention is necessary, you have a highly-qualified team of surgeons ready to perform the latest minimally-invasive techniques and procedures, whether it’s a wrist fusion or an arthroplasty.

Wrist Arthritis Treatment

If you are suffering from arthritis in your wrist and are feeling pain and stiffness, we can help. Our surgeons are experts at diagnosing and treating the full range of hand and wrist arthritis problems. We collaborate with other specialists, such as rheumatologists and plastic surgeons, to provide comprehensive care.

Treatment for wrist arthritis usually depends on what type of arthritis you have and how severe it is. Our experienced team of orthopaedic surgeons will examine you carefully and develop the most effective treatment plan to ease your pain and improve your quality of life.

Non-Surgical Options for Wrist Arthritis

For wrist arthritis, we generally try non-surgical treatment options first, such as:

  • Activity modification or immobilization of the hand
  • Bracing
  • Corticosteroid injection into the wrist
  • Pain medication or anti-inflammatories
  • Physical therapy

If these treatment options don’t work or if you experience severe pain, we may recommend surgery.

Surgery for Wrist Arthritis

When arthritis does not respond to anti-inflammatories, injections or wrist splinting, and the pain is strong enough that some form of surgical treatment is required, our surgeons will help you decide which type of surgery is right for you.

Our surgical techniques for wrist arthritis include:

  • Total wrist arthroplasty (total wrist replacement) - This surgery involves replacing a severe arthritic wrist joint with an artificial joint made of metal, plastic, silicone or other material. Total wrist arthroplasty improves range of motion and provides greater stability. It can be performed under general anesthesia and may require an overnight stay. Your surgeon will explain the procedure in detail and explain risks and benefits.
  • Total wrist fusion - For some younger individuals with advanced arthritis who require the use of their hands for work, our surgeons will perform a total wrist fusion. During this procedure, we fuse all of the bones of the wrist together, so the wrist is not able to move anymore. This procedure relieves pain and corrects deformities, but because the bones are fused together, the joint loses its natural mobility.

What is wrist arthritis and what causes it?

Wrist arthritis is a chronic condition in which the cartilage of the wrist bones wears away and causes pain. It can be associated with conditions like gout, rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. It can also be caused by injury or prior trauma.

Symptoms of Wrist Arthritis

The main symptom of wrist arthritis is pain. However, you may also experience other symptoms such as:

  • Difficulty moving the wrist
  • Feeling or hearing grinding of the wrist joint
  • Inflammation around the wrist joint
  • Weakness that makes grabbing objects difficult
  • Who can get wrist arthritis?

    Wrist arthritis tends to be more common in women than men, and affects people ages 60 and over.

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