Hand and Wrist Arthritis Care
At MedStar Orthopaedic Institute, you will find the most experienced team of orthopedic hand and wrist arthritis specialists, as well as the most comprehensive care available in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding region.
Many of our facilities are equipped to perform wide awake hand surgery, arthritis surgery, and arthroscopy of the hand and wrist, making it easier to undergo these advanced surgeries in the D.C. area. Our team provides the most advanced treatments for the full range of hand and wrist arthritis issues, including joint-preserving arthroscopy of the hand and wrist. Our team approach makes it easy for our hand and wrist specialists to work together with any other MedStar specialists you need for your arthritis management.
What is hand and wrist arthritis?
Hand and wrist arthritis is characterized by inflammation and swelling in the hand and wrist joints, which can cause severe pain and joint damage without proper treatment and care. The types of arthritis that commonly affect hands and wrists include:
- Osteoarthritis of the hands and wrists – The natural aging process can wear away at the protective cartilage that allows the many bones in your hand and wrist to move smoothly, causing inflammation, swelling, and pain.
- Rheumatoid arthritis of the hands and wrists – This immune system condition attacks and wears away the cartilage lining between the small, delicate bones in your hand and wrist. Rheumatoid arthritis generally affects the joints on both hands or both wrists.
What causes hand and wrist arthritis?
Depending on the type of arthritis you are suffering from, the disease may be caused by any of the following:
- Prior hand or wrist injury
- Natural aging process/wear and tear
- Immune system problem
- Genetics (family history of arthritis)
What are the symptoms of hand and wrist arthritis?
The following hand and wrist arthritis symptoms warrant a visit with a MedStar Orthopaedic Institute arthritis specialist:
- Pain or burning in the hand or wrist joints, especially in the morning and with heavy use
- Warmth due to inflammation
- Nearby joints become unusually flexible to compensate for the affected joint
- Feeling or hearing grinding of the joint inside the hand
- Appearance of cysts on the fingers
- Difficulty moving the wrist
Along with the symptoms above, rheumatoid arthritis can also cause:
- A weak grip
- Difficulty using the hand
- Pain in the knuckles
- Weight loss
How are hand and wrist arthritis diagnosed?
The orthopedic surgeons at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute are experts at diagnosing the full range of hand and wrist arthritis problems. Our initial exam generally includes:
- Medical history evaluation – This includes asking questions about when your pain began, whether it affects one or both sides of your body, and when the pain feels most severe. Other questions may be about whether you have other medical problems, and if you take any medications.
- Physical exam – Your doctor will examine your affected hand or wrist.
- Imaging tests – Your orthopedist may want to examine the bones and joints in your hands and wrists more closely using an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI.
What are the best treatments for arthritis in the hands or wrists?
Treatment for arthritis in the wrist or hand will vary depending on whether you suffer from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis and how severe your disease is. The experienced team of orthopedists at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute will examine you carefully and work to develop the most effective treatment plan for you. Our goal is to ease your arthritis pain and improve your ability to use your hands and wrists.
Treatment options aside from surgery may include:
- Injections of steroids or anti-inflammatory medications
- Temporarily restricting hand or wrist movement with a splint to ease pain
- Occupational therapy
If non-surgical treatment does not relieve your pain, you may need surgery. The orthopedic surgeons at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute are experienced in the most advanced and innovative surgical procedures for arthritis treatment.
Surgical procedures we use to treat arthritis include:
- Wide awake hand surgery
- Arthritis hand and wrist surgery
- Joint fusion surgery
- Joint replacement surgery, or arthroplasty
If you are suffering from wrist or hand arthritis, call 202-295-0511 to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic specialists at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. Our doctors have years of experience diagnosing and treating arthritis conditions and offer comprehensive arthritis care in the Washington, D.C. area.