What is Degenerative Wrist Irritation?

21 August 2017

From an early age we begin to rely on our wrists to help us get along with our day. They are in constant use whenever we move our hands, always moving to help us reach for objects, perform tasks, and enjoy many practical and fruitful hobbies. However, this does mean that it is inevitable that they will degenerate over time and this can manifest as degenerative wrist irritation.

Whether emerging in later life as an unavoidable sign of ageing, or arriving without warning as a product of wrist overuse, degenerative wrist irritation brings with it a range of symptoms and related treatments. To help you better identify the signs of degenerative wrist irritation and what treatments may be available to you, we've compiled this concise guide to wrist degeneration and related irritations.

What Causes Degenerative Wrist Irritation?

In short, there is no sole cause of degenerative joint irritation, which means that it can manifest in the form of various different conditions that affect different parts of the body. Typically, degenerative wrist irritation will begin to emerge in later life as an unavoidable sign of older age.

However, the condition may also surface prematurely as a result of wrist overuse. While the wrists are often in constant use, there are certain activities that can intensify this. Hobbies and physical tasks that place extra focus on the performance of the wrist can result in early onset degenerative wrist irritation as a result of general wear and tear. Additionally, wrists already weakened by prior injury or condition may be more likely to deteriorate.

What Are the Types of Degenerative Wrist Irritation?

Just as there is no one cause of degenerative wrist irritation, there is also no single type of irritation. It can take the form of numerous conditions affecting the wrist, with the following being an example of just some of the types of degenerative wrist conditions:

  • Basal joint arthritis: the basal joint at the base of the thumb becomes worn out over time
  • Hemarthrosis: a bleeding or haemorrhaging inside the joints that can erode bones and result in degeneration
  • Kienbock's disease: bone deterioration caused by a loss of blood supply
  • Osteoarthritis: this is caused by the deterioration of the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones

Due to the many conditions that can affect the wrists, there are many more ailments and complications that can lead to degenerative wrist irritation. It can manifest as a condition on its own, or may appear as a symptom of another condition.

How Can I Spot Degenerative Wrist Irritation?

While it is always advised that professional medical advice is sought for a proper diagnosis, there are certain signs and symptoms associated with degenerative wrists conditions that may help you to identify whether or not this is the condition with which you are dealing. Some of the conditions include:

  • Pain at the base of the thumb
  • Reddened skin caused by inflammation
  • Stiffness of the wrist, particularly in the morning
  • Swelling of tissue due to inflammation around the wrist joint
  • Wrist joint deformity

While many of these symptoms can also be linked to other conditions, they may be a sign of degenerative wrists. If you have any of these symptoms, it will be essential that you seek the advice of a doctor or other medical professional for a proper diagnosis.

Treatments for Degenerative Wrist Irritation

Once you are familiar with your condition, you can begin to consider the different treatment options to help ease the pain and discomfort. Depending on the type of degenerative wrist irritation and the severity of the condition, certain treatments may be preferred or more practical.

Surgical Treatments

Certain degenerative conditions, particularly those at an advanced stage, may require surgery. This can include joint fusion to remove cartilage to fuse bones through grafting. Joints can also be replaced with an artificial prosthesis, and, in milder cases of degeneration, joint reconstruction may be an option to remove painful bone spurs.

Hand Exercises

For milder degeneration where invasive surgery may not be necessary, undergoing a rehabilitation programme designed to exercise the hand and wrist can help to ease symptoms and keep degeneration at bay. It will, however, be important to follow a rehabilitation structure specially designed by a physiotherapist to ensure that overuse of the wrist does not cause further degeneration.

Anti-Inflammatories and Medication

When you seek advice from your doctor, they may recommend that you take a course of anti-inflammatories or other medication. This will not treat the condition, but it can help to reduce the pain and discomfort. Depending on the medical advice you receive, taking prescribed medication may help to make the condition more manageable ahead of surgery or rehabilitation.

Hot and Cold Therapy

While oral medication can ease pain and discomfort, applying heat or ice to the wrist can help to reduce swelling. With a wide range of both hot and cold therapy packs available, you will be able to find one that caters to your lifestyle, ensuring they can be used at home and on the go.

Wrist Supports

If you are looking to manage your condition, the most cost-effective way is through the use of a wrist support or brace. There is a wide range of braces to cater to the different stages of degenerative wrist irritation, from reducing the symptoms at the first sign of inflammation to protecting the wrist and encouraging healing during post-operative rehabilitation.

With as many approaches to treatments as there are types of degenerative wrist conditions, it may seem daunting to find the right approach for your individual symptoms. If you decide that utilising the benefits of a wrist brace either as an alternative to invasive surgery, before treatment, or during post-operative rehabilitation, you can view our full range of wrist supports suitable for degenerative wrist irritation by following the button below.


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