What is it : Arthritis in the wrist can range from mild to severe and can affect different joints within the wrist which then decides management. Quite often, the arthritis in the wrist follows some form of trauma which may or may not have been treated or diagnosed in the past. Patients with a general arthritic condition such as Rheumatoid can have severe arthritis in the wrist.
Management : Like most arthritis, we try non operative management while the pain is manageable. This includes simple pain relief, anti-inflammatory medication, splinting, hand therapy and injections. Once the pain is not manageable or function is affected, there are a number of operations available depending on which part of your wrist is arthritic. The treatments include – partial wrist fusion, total wrist fusion, wrist replacement or a proximal row carpectomy.
Post-operative : The post-operative management will depend on what operation you have. If it is a fusion then we will protect your wrist in a splint till the bones have healed. With the other procedures we can generally start you moving your wrist earlier. A wrist replacement will allow you to continue moving your wrist while also removing the arthritis. It is not designed for heavy work or manual labour.