Hand and wrist osteoarthritis is a common source of pain as you age. Basically, everyday wear and tear damages your hand and wrist joints. The chances of you suffering hand arthritis increase if you have overstressed your hand joints or have experienced excessive weight-bearing activities eg boxers and gymnasts.
Arthritis of the hand and wrist occurs in one of two major forms:
- Osteoarthritis - much more common than rheumatoid arthritis. Women tend to develop osteoarthritis in the hand and wrists at an earlier age than men. The small joints near the fingertips (distal interphalangeal or DIP joints) often are affected first. Women’s cases frequently involve the thumb.
- Inflammatory (including rheumatoid) arthritis - shows evidence of being an autoimmune malfunction in which the body appears to attack its own joints. Cases of inflammatory arthritis often have a hereditary component and often can be diagnosed with specific blood tests. Inflammatory arthritis can cause significant joint deformity. With rheumatoid arthritis, all of the fingers can rotate toward the small finger; this is called the ulnar drift.