How To Treat Wrist Arthritis

March 15, 2023

How To Treat Wrist Arthritis

Wrist arthritis is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It’s characterized by inflammation and degeneration of the joints in the wrist, leading to pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. 

The condition can be debilitating and impact daily activities, making it essential to understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment options available. Early diagnosis and treatment can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. 

This article will explore how to treat and manage wrist arthritis. 

How Wrist Arthritis is Treated

Conservative treatment options for wrist arthritis include cryotherapy, medications, physical therapy, splints, and bracing.


Applying an ice pack can reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation in the wrist. Be sure to use a proper ice pack to treat your wrist arthritis. Here at IceWraps, we have reliable ice packs available that you can use to treat wrist arthritis. 

We recommend using the IceWraps 4’’ ice packs for this job. One of the great things about this product is it can also be used as a hot pack. 

Apply the ice pack to the affected area for 20 minutes. You can do this multiple times a day, especially when you start to feel pain in your wrist. 


Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen are used to manage pain and inflammation associated with wrist arthritis. Sometimes, a doctor may prescribe stronger pain medication or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help manage symptoms.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy can help improve the wrist's range of motion, strength, and flexibility. You’ll be performing exercises to help improve the mobility of the joints, reduce pain and inflammation, and improve the overall wrist function.

Splints and bracing 

Wearing splints and bracing helps to immobilize the wrist and reduce the amount of stress on the joints. Doing this helps reduce pain and inflammation and improves the overall function of the wrist.

It's important to note that not all patients respond to conservative treatments, and some may require surgical options. 


Surgical intervention is typically considered the last resort for patients with wrist arthritis who have not seen improvement with conservative treatment options. Some procedures include arthroscopy, fusion, total joint replacement, and osteotomy. 

Before trying out any of these treatment methods, have a specialist in the field of hand and wrist evaluate your case so they can recommend the best treatment plan for you.

Now that we discussed the treatment available for wrist arthritis, let’s look at self-management techniques that can help. 

How to Manage Wrist Arthritis 



While treating arthritis is vital, self-management techniques can play a critical role in managing symptoms of wrist arthritis and improving the overall quality of life. 

These techniques include lifestyle changes, pain management techniques, and alternative therapies. 

Lifestyle changes

Weight management

Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce joint stress and the risk of developing arthritis. You may have guessed it, but having a healthy diet is crucial, and avoiding cigarettes will help you stay healthy. 

Exercise and physical activity

Regular exercise can improve the wrist's range of motion, strength, and flexibility. This will also help you manage your weight better and help you feel good about yourself. 

Ergonomic modifications

Changing how you do certain activities can help reduce joint stress, such as using a keyboard with a wrist pad or holding objects with a neutral grip. Switching your chair for an ergonomic one will also go a long way!

Pain management techniques

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) 

TENS involves using electrical stimulation to reduce pain. Your medical doctor or occupational or physical therapist can administer this modality. 


Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate specific points on the body.

Alternative therapies 

Some patients may find relief with alternative therapies such as yoga, tai chi, or meditation. These therapies reduce stress, improve range of motion, and improve overall well-being.

It's important to note that self-management techniques should be used with other treatments, such as medications and physical therapy, to achieve the best results. 

Again, consulting a healthcare professional before starting any self-management techniques is a good idea.

Now that we’ve covered the treatments and self-management techniques you can use, let’s learn about the causes of wrist arthritis in the next section. 

What Causes Wrist Arthritis?


To answer that question, it’s important to know that several types of arthritis can affect the wrist, each with its own set of causes. 

Let’s start with some of the most common ones. 


Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis caused by joint wear and tear. This can happen due to aging, repetitive motions, or an injury. 

As we age, the cartilage that cushions the joints begins to wear away, leading to bone-on-bone contact and resulting in pain and stiffness. People who engage in repetitive motions, such as typing or playing sports, are also at an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis

It’s an autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the lining of the joints, causing inflammation and damage. It’s not entirely clear what causes rheumatoid arthritis, but it’s believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People with a family history of the disease are more likely to develop it, and smoking is also a risk factor.

There’s also arthritis caused by trauma or injury – post-traumatic arthritis. 

Post-traumatic arthritis

This arthritis develops after an injury to the wrist, such as a fracture or ligament tear. Injuries that damage the joints can lead to the development of arthritis years later.


Genetic factors also play a role in the development of arthritis. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to developing the disease, making them more susceptible to joint damage.


Gout is a kind of arthritis caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints and can also affect the wrist. Gout is often associated with high uric acid levels in the blood, which certain medications, obesity, or excessive alcohol consumption can cause.

A combination of factors can cause wrist arthritis, and the exact cause may be difficult to determine. However, early diagnosis and treatment can help slow the progression of the disease and alleviate symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms of wrist arthritis, it's important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Now that you know how to treat wrist arthritis and what causes it, let’s find out how to diagnose this in the next section. 

How to Diagnose Wrist Arthritis 

Wrist arthritis can be challenging to diagnose, as the symptoms can be similar to other conditions. However, an accurate diagnosis is important for effective treatment. 

Here are some of the methods used to diagnose wrist arthritis.

Medical history and physical examination

The first step in diagnosing wrist arthritis is a thorough medical history and physical examination. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, any history of injury or trauma to the wrist, and any other medical conditions you may have. 

They will also examine your wrist for signs of inflammation, such as swelling or tenderness, and check for range of motion and strength.

Imaging tests

Imaging tests such as x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT) scans can provide detailed images of the bones and soft tissue in the wrist. These tests can help your doctor see any damage to the joints or surrounding tissue and can also help rule out other conditions.

Lab tests

Blood tests can rule out other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, that may cause similar symptoms. 

Joint fluid analysis

If your doctor suspects that you have a type of inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, they may take a sample of the fluid from the affected joint and analyze it for signs of inflammation.

Once a diagnosis of wrist arthritis has been made, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. This may include a combination of medications, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and lifestyle changes. 

In some cases, surgery may be the right option for you. 

It's essential to remember that early diagnosis and treatment of wrist arthritis can help slow the progression of the disease and alleviate symptoms. 

If you are experiencing symptoms of wrist arthritis, seeing a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is essential. 

Need a Hand? 

In conclusion, wrist arthritis is a condition characterized by inflammation and damage to the joints in the wrist. The causes of wrist arthritis can vary, but it is commonly caused by joint wear and tear, autoimmune disorders, injury, genetic predisposition, and gout. 

The symptoms of wrist arthritis can be similar to other conditions, so an accurate diagnosis is essential for effective treatment. Diagnosis includes a medical history, physical examination, imaging tests, lab tests, and joint fluid analysis.

It's important to note that early diagnosis and treatment can help slow the progression of the disease and alleviate symptoms. Treatment options may include a combination of cold therapy, medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes. 

In some cases, surgery may be the right option for you. It’s also important to maintain a healthy weight, stop smoking, engage in regular physical activity, and maintain a healthy diet to help manage the symptoms of wrist arthritis.

Always remember that if you are experiencing symptoms of wrist arthritis, seeing a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is essential. 

With the right ice packs and proper treatment, you can continue to lead an active and fulfilling life. 

With IceWraps, pain relief is only a click away!

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