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Pain in your hands or wrists can turn even the simplest tasks and routines into a daily struggle. Minor hand and wrist pain can make it difficult to work. This is especially true if you work at a computer or with your hands. It can make you think twice about enjoying your favorite activities, like working out or crafting. As it worsens, it can become difficult to do everything from dressing to opening containers or chopping food.

But how can you tell when hand and wrist pain is something temporary, or something more serious? Knowing the signs of hand and wrist arthritis can help you be prepared to seek treatment and put a stop to the pain before it gets worse. Keep reading to learn more about the early signs of hand and wrist arthritis, the different kinds of arthritis that can develop, and how St. George Utah Hand Surgery can help you find the right treatment option for you.

Where Does Arthritis Typically Form in the Hand and Wrist?

Where you’re experiencing pain can indicate whether or not you could be suffering from hand and wrist arthritis. Some common areas where hand arthritis forms include:

  • The base of the thumb
  • Knuckles
  • The top joint of each finger
  • The wrist

If you’re experiencing regular pain in any joints in your hands or wrists, it could be a sign of arthritis. 

Types of Arthritis

Arthritis is often used as a blanket term. However, there are actually a variety of types of arthritis, including several that can affect your hands and/or wrists. Some are more common than others, with some of the most common including osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis

One common form of hand and wrist arthritis is osteoarthritis. This is sometimes known as degenerative or “wear and tear” arthritis. This form of arthritis occurs as the cartilage, which helps to cushion the ends of your bones where they meet at joints, breaks down. As it breaks down, it no longer protects those bones, exposing them to one another. Over time, they rub and cause stiffness and pain. Left untreated, this form of arthritis can eventually cause a loss of movement.

Because osteoarthritis is caused by constant use, it’s common in fingers and in wrists. If osteoarthritis has begun to affect your ability to use your hands and wrists pain-free, St. George Utah Hand Surgery can help.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of chronic disease that causes inflammation in the linings of your joints. This inflammation, much like the deterioration caused by osteoarthritis, causes pain and stiffness in the joints, and, over time, loss of use. While osteoarthritis is caused by repetitive use, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body’s immune system begins to attack healthy tissues, in this case in the hands or wrists. 

Rheumatoid arthritis is most common in the smaller joints of your wrists, fingers, and hands.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Another common form of hand and wrist arthritis is psoriatic arthritis. This form of arthritis affects the skin and joints, and commonly causes excessive swelling. As the name suggests, this form of arthritis is linked to the skin and nail disease, psoriasis, which causes scaly red patches of skin. 

Psoriatic arthritis commonly impacts the small joints in the toes and fingers. Those suffering from psoriatic arthritis typically experience more joint pain and stiffness in the morning.

How to Tell When Hand and Wrist Pain is a Result of Arthritis

Experiencing a sore wrist after a challenging workout or finger pain after a minor injury may not require a visit to a doctor. But what if you begin experiencing the same kind of pain in the same joints in your hands or wrists for extended periods of time? Chronic pain that stays consistent or gets worse over time is typically indicative of an injury or a condition such as arthritis.

As with most injuries and illnesses, getting treatment for hand and wrist arthritis as early as possible is key to minimizing the pain and progression of this condition. If you find yourself complaining of pain in your hands or wrists that don’t lessen over a couple of weeks, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with St. George Utah Hand Surgery to get it checked out, and to learn whether arthritis could be to blame.

Arthritis is more common in individuals over the age of 60. However, it is possible to develop arthritis at any age. For that reason, it’s important to take pain in your hands and wrists seriously, regardless of your age. Early intervention can help slow the progression of arthritis and lead to less pain, stiffness, and swelling over time.

Treating Hand and Wrist Arthritis

There is no cure for arthritis. However, there are a variety of treatment options that can help to slow the progression, decrease pain, and improve your function and range of movement.

The first step in treating arthritis is determining the type of arthritis you’re suffering from, and how far it has progressed. From there, the experts at St. George Utah Hand Surgery can help to develop a plan or surgical or nonsurgical treatment, such as splinting or corticosteroid injections.

How St. George Utah Hand Surgery Can Help

At St. George Utah Hand Surgery, we specialize in treating a variety of hand, wrist, and elbow conditions through both nonsurgical and surgical treatment options. Whether you’re looking to get to the root cause of your pain or have already been diagnosed, our skilled team can help. We start by helping you learn more about your condition. Then, we’ll explore your treatment options to help you choose the right one for you. Our commitment to providing the highest quality care to every patient ensures a stress-free experience as you begin your road to treatment and recovery.


If you’re suffering from pain in your hands and wrists, don’t wait to get treatment. Call to schedule an appointment today.