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For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org

Data on osteoarthritis of the hand and wrist

Osteoarthritis in the hands is often nodal osteoarthritis. Painful inflammation of the joints eases over time, leaving bony swellings (nodes) behind the joints. The joints at the finger ends and base of the thumb are most often affected.

Osteoarthritis of the hand can have a profound impact on people’s lives, limiting their ability to make the hand movements necessary for everyday activities and work.

How many people have osteoarthritis of the hand or wrist?

Just over 1 in every 6 people who have sought treatment for osteoarthritis have it in their hand or wrist. In the UK, this means:

  • 1.56 million people*
  • 6% of people aged 45 and over*
  • 620,000 working-age women in the UK (45–64 years).*

Women are more likely than men to have sought treatment about osteoarthritis of the hand or wrist. Women aged 45–64 are more than twice as likely than men to have sought treatment about osteoarthritis of the hand or wrist.

Figure 1 – The estimated number of people in the UK who have sought treatment for osteoarthritis of the hand and wrist, by gender and age group.

A graph to show the estimated number of people in the UK who have sought treatment for osteoarthritis of the hand and wrist by gender and age group

 

Figure 2 – The estimated proportion of people in the UK who have sought treatment for osteoarthritis of the hand and wrist by gender and age group

A graph to show the estimated proportion of people in the UK who have sought treatment for osteoarthritis of the hand and wrist by gender and age group

References

*Data from GPs consultations can be used to estimate the number of people living with osteoarthritis of the hand and wrist.  To produce these figures the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre analysed data recorded in the Consultations in Primary Care Archive (CiPCA) about the number of people who have sought treatment from their GP for osteoarthritis over a seven year period.

For further findings and information please download our guide Osteoarthritis in general practice (PDF 4.21 MB).

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