In the U.S., more than 25 percent of adults suffer from arthritis in one or more of their joints.
“It is a painful, sometimes debilitating, joint condition characterized by inflammation where joints can actually wear down over time,” says Andrew Kirkpatrick, fellowship trained hand surgeon at Orthopedics & Sports Medicine by BayCare Clinic.
Arthritis can cause pain, inflammation and swelling in the hand or wrist joint and can worsen with age, repetitive use or even injury.
According to Kirkpatrick, arthritis is ‘unbelievably common’ and can present itself differently for each patient- limiting their ability to perform daily tasks, play sports or exercise, he says.
Symptoms will vary depending on each patient and the cause or type of arthritis, but pain and swelling are often present, Kirkpatrick says.
“It can be mild, but in many cases, it can also be very severe or even disabling.”
Patients may experience stiffness, or a reduced range of motion, or weakness in the hand and wrist.
“There is no bad time to see a doctor for arthritis,” Kirkpatrick says. “We see and treat people in all stages of the disease whether it’s early on or advanced.”
Your choice for reliable hand and wrist treatments
Kirkpatrick is board-certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and completed fellowship training in hand surgery at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.
He earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
He specializes in hand and upper extremity procedures and regularly treats arthritis and wrist pain as well as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendon and ligament injuries, trigger finger, nerve disorders, fractures, dislocations, tingling and numbness, congenital abnormalities, elbow conditions and emergency or long-term hand related conditions and injuries.
Through a preliminary exam, he can help pinpoint the type of arthritis and provide treatment options suitable for each patients’ individual situation.
Treatment options available for patients suffering from arthritis range from non-operative treatments like braces, splints, and anti-inflammatory medications, therapy all the way to surgery which can also help a lot of people.