Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Wrist FAQ


What problems does arthritis of the wrist cause?


Pain is the main symptom of osteoarthritis of any joint. At first, the pain comes only with activity. Most of the time the pain lessens while doing the activity, but after stopping the activity the pain and stiffness increase. As the condition worsens, you may feel pain even when resting. The pain may interfere with sleep.

The wrist joints may be swollen. Your wrist may fill with fluid and feel tight, especially after use. When all the articular cartilage is worn off the joint surface, you may notice a squeaking sound when you move your wrist. Doctors call this creaking crepitus.

Osteoarthritis eventually affects the wrist's motion. The wrist joint becomes stiff. Certain motions become painful. You may not be able to trust the joint when you lift objects in certain positions. This is because a pain reflex "freezes" the muscles when a joint is put in a position that causes pain. This happens without warning, and you can end up dropping whatever is in your hand.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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