Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease where the tissue which covers the ends of the bones forming a joint (or cartilage) wears away.
Symptoms associated with wrist osteoarthritis are pain, fluid around wrist joints, wrist swelling, crackling when wrist is moved, stiffness and limited flexibility.
The goals for treatment of wrist osteoarthritis are to relieve pain and improve joint function. Some self-help tips you can do:
- Resting the joint helps acute inflammation to subside. However prolonged inactivity may cause a stiff joint.
- Eat foods that decrease inflammation such as: flaxseeds, garlic, onions, watercress, horseradish, mustard, parsley, celery, rose hips tea, pickles, lemon, and oils found in nuts, seeds, and cold-water fish, soy and soy foods e.g. tofu and tempeh.
- Avoid foods which may increase inflammation such as: potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, high saturated fats, red meat, white flour products, processed foods and high sugar foods.
- Glucosamine/chondroitin can be beneficial for joint health when taken for at least a 2-month period.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil help decrease inflammation.
- Bromelain enzyme comes from pineapples and is said to reduce inflammation. Turmeric is sometimes combined with bromelain, because it makes the effects of bromelain stronger.
- Ginger may reduce joint inflammation and pain. One study found that ginger extract blocked COX-2, a chemical in the body that causes pain.
- Occupational therapy or physiotherapy range-of-motion and stretching exercises can improve your wrist motion. Strengthening exercises for the arm and hand help steady the wrist and protect the joint from shock and stress.
- Support braces help strengthen wrist movements and are useful at night or for specific activities.
- A heated wheat bag can help loosen tissues. Apply the heat treatment for no more than 20 minutes at a time. Continuous low-level heat has been shown to be effective for the treatment of wrist pain associated with osteoarthritis which may progressively increase with the length of time of the heat application. Other benefits may include an increase in grip strength.
- Willow bark acts similar to aspirin.
NOTE: Those with diabetes, multiple sclerosis, poor circulation and rheumatoid arthritis need to be cautious about using heat therapy as it may cause skin distress or increased inflammation. When using heat, skin should be protected and application time should be restricted.
If you are on any medication, especially blood thinners, consult your GP or a qualified nutritionist before taking supplements.