Hand & Wrist Osteoarthritis

Arthritis in the hand and wrist joint causes pain and inflammation.

Hand osteoarthritis usually happens in three places:
• The base of your thumb, where it meets your wrist
• One of the joints closest to your fingertips
• The middle joint of a finger

Your wrist is made up of many small bones that connect your hand and forearm. The wrist joint assists you in bending, straightening, and rotating your hand. Wrist arthritis causes painful swelling and inflammation in this joint.


Pain and stiffness are the most common symptoms. They may deteriorate over time. The pain may become constant and sharper, and the stiffness may prevent you from fully bending your finger joints or rotating your palm, opening jars, turn doorknobs.

You may also experience:

  • Joints that are red, warm, or swollen.
  • Stiffness that worsens in the morning and gets better throughout the day.
  • Weakness in the wrist and hands.


Certain things can make you more likely to have osteoarthritis:

  • Age.
  • Sex. Women are twice as likely to get it.
  • Ethnicity. Rates are lower in African Americans.
  • Weight. Thinner people are less likely to get it than those who have obesity.
  • Injuries. This includes broken and dislocated bones.
  • Changes in your genes. Your parents might have passed down a higher chance of OA.
  • Joint problems. This includes infections, loose ligaments, overuse, and joints that aren’t aligned the way they should be.