Arthrosis of the wrists and fingers

This text provides information in simple language on the topic: osteoarthritis of the wrist and finger joints.

What is osteoarthritis of the wrists and fingers?

Osteoarthritis is a joint disease. With osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the joint wears off.

Healthy joint with smooth cartilage (blue)

© W & B / Martina Ibelherr

A joint is made up of two bones. The bones move along each other. Between the bones is cartilage and synovial fluid. They serve to protect the bones: They prevent the bones from rubbing against each other.

With osteoarthritis, the cartilage between the bones becomes thinner and thinner. That's why the bones rub against each other. The affected joint wears out. This wear and tear on the joint can lead to pain. Often the joint can no longer move as easily.

Advanced osteoarthritis

The red arrows show the worn areas between the two bones. There is no protection from cartilage and synovial fluid

© W & B / Martina Ibelherr

In advanced osteoarthritis, the cartilage is heavily worn and very thin. In some places between the two bones there is no cartilage at all. There the bones rub against each other.

Osteoarthritis can occur in the fingers:

  • in the end joints
  • in the middle joints
  • in the thumb saddle joint

Osteoarthritis can also occur in the wrist:

  • between the radius and the navicular bone
  • between the spoke and the lunar bone
  • between the spoke and ulna

© W & B / Martina Ibelherr

What are the causes of osteoarthritis?

The causes of osteoarthritis are not always known. Possible causes can be:

  • incorrect loads on a joint on the hand or finger
  • Injuries to the affected joint
  • other diseases such as gout or rheumatism

Women are more likely to have osteoarthritis of the finger joints than men. This occurs mainly during and after menopause. This is probably due to the hormones. The hormones change during menopause.

Does your own mother or grandmother have osteoarthritis in the finger joints? Then the risk of osteoarthritis is increased.

How can you recognize osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis can show different signs:

  • Do certain movements with your fingers or wrist hurt?
  • Are the affected joints sometimes swollen?
  • Can't the affected joints move properly?
  • Do other people in the family have osteoarthritis?
  • Were or are the affected joints exposed to heavy loads?
  • Have the affected joints been injured before?

Do one or more of these signs apply? Then osteoarthritis can be the cause. Sometimes patients notice possible signs of osteoarthritis late. The signs are often different for each person.

You think: maybe I have osteoarthritis? Then go to the doctor. The doctor will examine you and give you all the important information.

What can you do about osteoarthritis?

Talk to a Doctor. The doctor will give you all the important information.

If you have osteoarthritis, you should:

  • Do not overstrain the affected joints and do not put too much strain on them.
  • An occupational therapist can show you: This is how you can relieve the joints.
  • Improve the mobility of the affected joints.

Medication can also relieve pain.

Note: Talk to your doctor before taking any medication.

Where can you get more information?

Would you like to read more about osteoarthritis of the wrist and finger joints? You can find more information about osteoarthritis here. Attention: This link leads out of our simple language offer. The information is then no longer in plain language.

Attention: This text only contains general information. The text does not replace a visit to the doctor. Only a doctor can give you accurate information. Are you feeling sick? Or do you have questions about an illness? Then you should always see a doctor.

We wrote the texts together with the Light Language Research Center. The light language research center is at the University of Hildesheim.

Joints arthrosis