How to tell if you have arthritis in your wrists?

When you think of arthritis, you might picture swollen, painful fingers or creaky knees. However, if your wrist is swollen and stiff, it's likely that arthritis is to blame.


The wrist attaches the hand to the forearm and is a complicated joint. It is made up of the radius and ulna, two forearm bones, and eight small carpal bones that lie between your fingers and your shoulder. At the base of the hand, the carpal bones are divided into two rows, each with four bones. Articular cartilage covers the joint surfaces of each bone and is a slippery material that supports and cushions the bones when you move your hand and wrist.


Wrist arthritis is a common cause of wrist pain. According to one study, wrist arthritis affects one in every seven people. Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint. In the UK, around 10 million people have arthritis. It affects people of all ages, including children. The type of arthritis that affects your wrist, on the other hand, may not be so apparent. Many symptoms are shared by two of the most common types of arthritis: osteoarthritis (OA, or degenerative arthritis triggered by joint wear and tear) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA, an inflammatory form of arthritis caused by joint inflammation). In addition, other, less common types of inflammatory arthritis that involve the wrist must be considered by your doctor.


Symptoms of Arthritis

Symptoms of arthritis in the wrist are not encountered by anyone. When symptoms do appear, their severity varies widely from one person to the next. Wrist arthritis symptoms aren't always present in certain patients; they can come and go depending on their level of operation and other factors. You may have done something to your wrist that aggravates it causing a flare, such as repetitive overuse, raising, holding, or bending.

Then it returns to its baseline.


A decrease in grip strength, such as the inability to open jars, use keys, or turn doorknobs, is another common symptom of wrist arthritis.

The following are some of the most common signs and symptoms of wrist arthritis:

  • Rigidity
  • swollen
  • The colour red
  • Deficiency
  • Swelling around joints and joint pain
  • Having difficulty grasping objects
  • Problems with washing, combing hair, or brushing teeth are examples of a minimal or restricted range of motion.
  • pain, 
  • loss of flexibility in the wrist which may affect your ability to use your hands to dress, eat, and do many work tasks.
  • Grinding, clicking, or grinding sound when you move


Types of Arthritis that Can Cause Arthritis in the Wrist

Many different kinds of arthritis can affect the wrist. Here is more information on four of the most common types.


In the UK approximately 8.5 million people have painful joints attributed to osteoarthritis. b) Osteoarthritis is more common in women and people in older age groups; X-ray studies show that at least 50% of people older than 65 have evidence of osteoarthritis. It's more common as people get older, but it can happen at any age, depending on factors like accidents and genetic risk. The smooth, slippery articular cartilage that covers the ends of the bones gradually wears away in osteoarthritis of the wrist.


When cartilage is injured or worn down, it has little capacity to heal or recover due to its lack of blood supply. Kienböck's disease is a disorder that can cause osteoarthritis in the wrist. The lunate, one of the carpal bones, has its blood flow interrupted. As a result, the bone starts to deteriorate. This can cause structural changes and arthritis in the joints surrounding the lunate over time.


Post-traumatic arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis is a form of osteoarthritis that occurs after a joint is physically damaged, such as through athletics, a car accident, a fall, or other trauma. Injuries to the bone and/or cartilage may alter the joint mechanics and cause it to wear out faster. Symptoms of post-traumatic arthritis in the wrist may occur within a few years, or joint damage from an accident may take decades to manifest.


Rheumatoid Arthritis

In the UK, rheumatoid arthritis affects more than 400,000 people. It often starts when a person is between 40 and 50 years old. Women are 3 times more likely to be affected than men. In rheumatoid arthritis, the body's immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling. 

rheumatoid arthritis vs osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects;

  • joints in the body, 
  • causing discomfort, 
  • stiffness,
  • swelling,
  • and loss of function.

Autoimmunity, or a deficiency of the immune system, causes rheumatoid arthritis.


Antibodies, white blood cells of different forms, and other protection mechanisms are produced by the immune system in response to any external threats (such as viruses, bacteria, or parasites that may cause disease). However, in autoimmune disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, the immune system becomes confused for unknown purposes. When there's no reason for it to, it attacks your own healthy tissue.


Rheumatoid Arthritis usually begins in smaller joints, such as the fingers and wrist. Rheumatoid Arthritis is often symmetrical, affecting the same joint on both sides of the body. For example, osteoarthritis can only affect your right wrist, while Rheumatoid Arthritis is more likely to affect both wrists.


The range of motion and stability of the wrist joints can be impaired as Rheumatoid Arthritis progresses. Since Rheumatoid Arthritis triggers widespread inflammation in the body, wrist pain isn't necessarily the only symptom. Other rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include pain in other joints, especially your fingers and toes, as well as weakness, a low-grade fever, and these other rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic Arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects the skin.

Another form of inflammatory arthritis linked to psoriasis is psoriatic arthritis (PsA) (a disease that causes red, scaly rashes on the skin). Psoriatic arthritis in the wrist may have symptoms that are similar to RA pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of function but there may be additional PsA symptoms that are more specific to PsA.


PsA patients are more likely to have issues with their nails, such as pitting and crumbling, as well as swollen fingers and toes, which are known as dactylitis and making them look sausage-like. PsA joint pain is also less symmetrical than Rheumatoid Arthritis joint pain.


If none of these describes the pain of your wrist then perhaps you have either of these two common conditions carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitis. 


Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome arises when the median nerve, a major nerve in the hand, is compressed in the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist that often contains the tendons that bend your fingers. Intriguingly, arthritis increases the likelihood of carpal tunnel syndrome, meaning you may have both conditions at the same time. However, the essence of carpal tunnel pain typically distinguishes it from arthritis: Numbness and tingling in the first three fingers (thumb, index, and middle finger) are typical symptoms, as are the other carpal tunnel symptoms.



Tendinitis is a disease that affects the tendons. Tendons are strong cords that bind muscles to bones. Tendinitis happens when tendons become swollen or inflamed. Tendinitis causes extreme pain and tenderness in the affected joint, making it impossible to lift it. Tendinitis may affect any tendon, but it's more common in the shoulder, knee, elbow, heel, and wrist.


Splint for the wrist is a simple remedy to trying to help relieve arthritis here's why;

Wrist braces can help facilitate wrist movements while also reducing physical discomfort. They won't avoid major accidents, but they will make it easier to go about your everyday activities. To secure your wrist or forearm, you can get a custom-made or over-the-counter splint.