Wrist

Wrist Specialist
If you’re dealing with wrist pain from arthritis, an injury, or another condition, you might not be able to perform your daily activities the way you usually do. It can even keep you from effectively doing your job. Dr. Robert J. Lee, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, provides patients with a variety of treatment options for wrist ailments. At Robert Lee Orthopedics in Idaho Falls and Blackfoot, Idaho, Dr. Lee is committed to enhancing your mobility and giving you professional, courteous medical care. Book your appointment online or call Dr. Lee today.

Wrist Q & A

by Robert J. Lee, MD

What is arthritis?

Arthritis can occur from acute or chronic inflammation in a joint and the surrounding tissues. Trauma, like a broken bone, can also trigger it.

Inflammation can make the cartilage wear away, and the tissues lose strength. Cartilage between the joints prevents them from rubbing together; if the cartilage is continuously worn away, it eventually disappears. At that point, bone rubs against bone.

X-rays can highlight the changes in the structure of the cartilage. Dr. Lee will work with you to find a diagnosis and a course of treatment for your wrist or hand injury.

Why might I need wrist surgery?

Dr. Lee considers surgery when other nonsurgical treatment options, such as physical therapy or anti-inflammatory medications, aren’t successful. There are three main types of wrist surgery:

Reconstructive surgery

One type of reconstructive wrist surgery, ligament reconstruction and tendon interposition (LRTI) is commonly used to treat arthritis of the thumb.

During the procedure, Dr. Lee removes all or part of the trapezium wrist bone. Arthritic joint surfaces are replaced with tissue to cushion and separate the bones. The arthritic bone is either replaced with an artificial implant or with a rolled-up tendon taken from the forearm of the same arm.

Joint fusion

Also called arthrodesis, Dr. Lee typically uses joint fusion for arthritis. Fusing certain joints together can stabilize the joint and help to straighten it; the obvious downside being that you can’t bend the joint after it’s been fused.

Joint replacement

If you have rheumatoid arthritis and your wrist is severely damaged, Dr. Lee might suggest a joint replacement surgery.

The surgery involves replacing the damaged joint with a prosthetic one. These artificial joints can be made of titanium, silicone, polyethylene, or pyrocarbon. Advanced newer implants offer more strength and stability.

What is post-traumatic wrist arthritis?

Following a bad wrist injury, post-traumatic wrist arthritis may not appear for months or even years. In some cases, you may not even know or remember the traumatic event that triggered it. Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Limited wrist mobility
  • Heat and redness around the area

If you have questions about pain in your wrist or have suffered a recent injury, Dr. Lee can help expedite your healing process. Call now or book your appointment online.

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