Rheumatoid arthritis: What are the wrist symptoms?

If an individual has chronic symptoms in the wrist that could not be managed with conventional treatments, there is a possibility that he/she has rheumatoid arthritis. This type of arthritis can only be diagnosed with physical examination and a blood test. If an individual is suspected with this condition, a doctor should be consulted. Once a diagnosis can be given for the wrist symptoms, the doctor can come up with the ideal treatment plan.

Do I have rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is considered as a chronic condition that develops once the lining of the joint or synovium becomes swollen. The condition can eventually lead to damage in the joint and occurs in stages. Initially, the lining of the joint becomes swollen which causes the general symptoms.  Once the condition progresses, the synovium starts to thicken. In the last stages, there might be damage to the cartilage and bone which results to disability.

What are the general symptoms?

Rheumatoid arthritis

If the wrist is affected by this type of arthritis, the individual will eventually lose his/her ability to grip and hold objects.

  • Wrist pain
  • Stiffness
  • Warmth
  • Loss of motion

The affected joint can also become swollen and red. This type of arthritis is characterized by its periods of flare-ups followed by remission. There are times when the wrists have several symptoms and at times, they are mild or no symptoms are present.

As the condition in the wrist progresses, the affected wrist starts to lose shape and becomes misaligned. The pain can intensify and the flexibility in the wrist can become diminished. Always bear in mind that rheumatoid arthritis often has similar symptoms on both sides of the body.

Late stage symptoms

If the wrist is affected by this type of arthritis, the individual will eventually lose his/her ability to grip and hold objects. The ability to write, button shirts and other tasks can become difficult. Over time, the pain can spread from the wrist up to the hand which affects the fingers and knuckles. Additionally, the swelling linked with rheumatoid arthritis can cause pressure on the nerves of the wrist. Take note that the swelling can lead to compression of the nerve and oftentimes the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.


Even today, there is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis. The treatment is simply aimed on managing the symptoms. Hot and cold therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, bracing and physical therapy are often used. Proper protection of the joint while performing daily activities can help the individual stay active without triggering the flare-up of symptoms. In severe cases, surgery can help correct the damaged joint.



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