Treatment Options for Hand and Wrist Arthritis in Freehold and Monroe Township, NJ
Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that often affects the joints in the hands and wrists, which endure a significant amount of wear and tear during daily activities. The most common type is osteoarthritis, which causes a progressive deterioration of cartilage, a flexible tissue that cushions the bone surfaces that come together in a joint. Cartilage can wear down to the point that painful bone-on-bone contact occurs. Symptoms include swelling, tenderness, and stiffness, all of which interfere with the use of the hand or wrist.
Also known as degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is a common result of the natural aging process. Traumatic injuries such as fractures, joint dislocations, severe sprains, and torn ligaments can hasten the development of hand and wrist arthritis.
Conservative Treatments for Hand and Wrist Arthritis
Osteoarthritis cannot be cured or reversed. However, in many cases, its symptoms can be effectively managed without surgery. Some first-line treatments for hand and wrist arthritis include:
- Avoiding, cutting back on, or modifying any movements and activities that cause or worsen the pain
- Applying ice packs as needed to reduce swelling
- Taking acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen to alleviate painful inflammation
- Splinting the affected joint to restrict painful movement
- Exercising the painful joint—gently and daily—through a full range of motion (a hand therapist can provide guidance)
- Injecting the arthritic joint with a cortisone preparation to relieve the symptoms for an extended period
Surgical Treatments for Hand and Wrist Arthritis
Surgery may be considered to address very severe hand or wrist arthritis if nonsurgical treatment does not provide sufficient symptom relief. Surgical options include:
- Thumb fusion – The bones in carpometacarpal (CMC) joint, which is located at the point where the metacarpal bone of the thumb attaches to the trapezium bone of the wrist, are joined together with metal wires or screws to provide stability and restrict movement.
- Reconstructive surgery for osteoarthritis in the base of the thumb – An arthritic bone is removed and replaced with a piece of rolled-up tendon harvested from the forearm.
- Joint arthroplasty – An arthritic hand or wrist joint is replaced with an artificial implant constructed of ceramic or silicone rubber.
Any type of hand or wrist surgery is usually followed by a rehabilitation program to help restore strength and movement.
Consult With a Hand and Wrist Specialist
At Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute, our hand and wrist specialists offer a full range of conservative and surgical treatments for hand and wrist arthritis. Contact us to request a consultation at our office in Freehold or Monroe Township, NJ. We can provide individualized advice to help you find the best option for relieving your pain.