Wrist arthritis (osteoarthritis) is a group of mechanical abnormalities resulting in joint destruction, which can occur in the wrist. These abnormalities include degeneration of cartilage and hypertrophic bone changes, which can lead to pain, swelling and loss of function. Osteoarthritis of the wrist is one of the most common conditions seen by hand surgeons.
Osteoarthritis of the wrist can be idiopathic, but it is mostly seen as a post-traumatic condition. There are different types of post-traumatic osteoarthritis. Scapholunate advanced collapse (SLAC) is the most common form, followed by scaphoid non-union advanced collapse (SNAC). Other post-traumatic causes such as intra-articular fractures of the distal radius or ulna can also lead to wrist osteoarthritis, but are less common.