What is Osteoarthritis?

15 August 2017  |  John

Osteoarthritis involves the breakdown of joint cartilage that separates bones, resulting in bones rubbing together and wearing. It’s most commonly found in elderly individuals, and has a range of causes and risk factors that leaves many in danger of developing the conditions.

It affects a wide range of parts of the body; however unlike other forms of arthritis it will only affect joints and not individual bones.

What Does Osteoarthritis Do?

A type of joint disease, osteoarthritis causes the cartilage that connects joints to break down. This leads to bones rubbing together and breaking down themselves, making joints painful and stiff. 

While it doesn’t affect bones themselves directly (unlike other forms of arthritis) it can be found in joints across the body. The most common areas affected by osteoarthritis are:

  • Hands
  • Wrists
  • Neck
  • Lower back
  • Knees
  • Hips

How Does Osteoarthritis Affect The Wrists?

Like all joints of the body, the wrist is vulnerable to osteoarthritis. However, because the wrist doesn’t undergo as much stress as hips or knees, wrist osteoarthritis is mostly considered to be a post-traumatic condition.

Lean What Wrist Osteoarthritis Is Caused By At Wrist Supports
Wrist osteoarthritis is usually caused by an injury to the joint or bone

There are two different main types of post-traumatic wrist osteoarthritis: Scapholunate Advanced Collapse (SLAC) and Scaphoid Non-union Advanced Collapse (SNAC). 

SLAC is the most common form, and occurs when the scapholunate ligament collapses, disrupting the fit between the radius bone and scaphoid carpal bone. This will eventually results in degenerative osteoarthritis.

SNAC occurs after scaphoid non-union fractures, which change the shape of the scaphoid bone. This eventually leads to abnormal joint movement, eventually leading to degenerative osteoarthritis.

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

Unfortunately, osteoarthritis has no clear singular cause. However, there are a range of potential causes that could lead to osteoarthritis, including:

  • Previous joint injuries
  • Abnormal joint development
  • Genetic factors

Additionally, there is a number of risk factors that could increase the chance of osteoarthritis developing. These include: 

  • Being overweight
  • Different length legs
  • Increased joint stress

How Do I Know If I Have Osteoarthritis?

There are a range of symptoms of osteoarthritis, many of which can make it difficult to go about your day-to-day life unaided. These symptoms include:

  • Joint pain
  • Joint stiffness for about 30 minutes in the morning
  • Swelling
  • Cracking (also known as crepitus) when the limb or extremity is moved passively
  • Joint locking
  • Joint instability

If you're worried about osteoarthritis, be sure you consult with a medical professional to ensure you get the care you need.

Treatment Options

For wrist osteoarthritis, non-surgical approaches are typically used in the earlier stages. This typically involves immobilisation with a wrist splint or brace, corticosteroid injections and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.

Learn More About How Wrist Osteoarthritis Is Treated At Wrist Supports
Corticosteroid injection are a common treatment for wrist osteoarthritis at early stages

However, in later stages of the condition surgery is typically required. This can range from installing a four-corner arthrodesis to secure the bones and joints all the way to fusing the carpal bones together. This depends on the stage of the condition and the patient’s lifestyle – fusing the bones together is best for those who want to perform heavy labour as other options render this impossible.

Osteoarthritis at Wrist Supports

If you’re looking for a wrist support or brace to help with your osteoarthritis, we here at Wrist Supports have a huge selection of supports and braces that have been developed to reduce the aches and pains that osteoarthritis can cause. Selected by specialists, you’re sure to find something that meets your needs.

Visit Wrist Supports for Osteoarthritis to find a brace that’s right for you.


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