Nonsurgical treatments for arthritis in the hands and wrists include keeping the wrist protected in a splint to relieve symptoms and exercises to improve range of motion in the affected areas, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Cortisone steroid injections in the wrist joint is another option.
Physicians may recommend modifying activities that make the pain worse, such as overuse of the hands and wrists, to relieve symptoms, states the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, may aid in reducing swelling and pain. If these remedies do not provide enough relief for those with rheumatoid arthritis, a doctor may prescribe disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs to prevent additional joint damage.
When symptoms worsen, surgical treatment may be necessary. A surgeon can remove the arthritic bones to allow partial wrist motion and eliminate the pain of arthritis in the hand and wrist, notes the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Fusion is another option, which involves fusing together carpal bones to make one, solid bone. A partial fusion works to reduce pain while maintaining some wrist motion, whereas a completion fusion may eliminate wrist motion. Joint replacement involves surgery to remove and replace joints with artificial devices to recover wrist motion while eliminating the pain of arthritis in the wrist and hand.