Arthritis (distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ) BOT wrist support

What is it?

Arthritis, or osteoarthritis, is a painful condition caused by long-term wear and tear of the smooth cartilage that normally covers the ends of the bones inside the joint. This causes the bones in the joint to rub together, causing pain and swelling. Arthritis is the most prevalent joint disease and a leading source of chronic pain and disability in the developed world.

Why does it occur?

Although anyone can develop osteoarthritis, it is more common in people who have other joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, carry out heavy manual work, take part in high impact sports such as tennis, or have had previous surgery. It also more frequently affects women, those over 40, and those who are overweight or obese. There can be a genetic element.

How is it diagnosed?

Your consultant will ask you some questions to establish whether you have any risk factors for arthritis, and talk to you about the severity of your symptoms. They will also carry out a detailed examination of your wrist. In most cases the diagnosis is confirmed with an x-ray, but occasionally further tests or scans may be required.

How is it treated?

The best course of treatment for wrist arthritis depends on a number of factors, including your general health, activity levels, the severity of the symptoms, as well as the affect the arthritis has had on your wrist.

Non-surgical treatment
For early or minimally symptomatic wrist osteoarthritis, non-surgical options include lifestyle modification and physiotherapy potentially in combination with dietary supplements or pain killers. There are also injections, such as steroid, hyaluronic acid or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) which can alleviate many of the symptoms from osteoarthritis and negate or postpone the need for surgery.

Surgical treatment
If non-surgical measures fail, surgery is often required to relieve pain and improve function. These include joint preservation techniques, such as arthroscopy or osteotomy. All of these options, and the risks and benefits of each, will be discussed with you during your consultation.

The One Orthopaedics team specialists

Peter Magnussen

Consultant Hand Surgeon, FRCS

Anthony Hearnden

Consultant Orthopaedic Specialist FRCS (Tr & Orth)