"Coping with Wrist Injuries" FAQs

Public and Patient Education Department Program, May 27, 2004


Aaron Daluiski, MD

Assistant Attending Orthopaedic Surgeon, Hospital for Special Surgery
Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College
Chief of Hand Service, New York-Presbyterian Hospital

Does glucosamine help with coping with wrist arthritis?

Glucosamine, with or without chondroitin sulfate, does appear to have some affect on the inflammatory response caused by arthritic degeneration in joints and specifically in knees. Unfortunately, from a medical viewpoint, glucosamine has not been shown to slow or repair articular cartilage degenerative changes. For this reason, no specific recommendation for the use of glucosamine, with or without chondroitin sulfate, can be made.


Is physical therapy for wrist arthritis effective?

Although medication is one part of treatment for people with arthritis, a tailored exercise program can help relieve pain and fatigue and preserve joint structure and function.

The stiffness, pain, and swelling associated with arthritis can severely reduce the range of motion in joints (the normal distance joints can move in certain directions). Avoiding physical activity because of pain or discomfort also can lead to significant muscle loss and excessive weight gain. Exercise, as part of a comprehensive arthritis treatment plan, can improve joint mobility, muscle strength, and overall physical conditioning, and it can also help you maintain a healthy weight.


Is there any way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome?

Most cases of carpal tunnel syndrome can be prevented by stopping or reducing an activity that stresses your fingers, hand, or wrist, or by changing the way in which you do that activity.


What causes a ganglion cyst?

No one knows what triggers the formation of a ganglion. Women are more likely to be affected than men, and ganglions are common among gymnasts, who repeatedly apply stress to the wrist. Because the fluid-filled sac puts pressure on the nerves that pass through the joint, some ganglion cysts may be painful. Large ganglions, even if they are not painful, are unattractive. Smaller ganglions that remain hidden under the skin (occult ganglions) may be quite painful. Sometimes, an MRI or ultrasound is needed to find a ganglion cyst hidden under the skin.

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