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Will spacers between the bones in my wrists limit my mobility?

Q) I have arthritis in my wrist which has so far been managed with painkillers and twice-yearly injections. My rheumatologist now says I should consider an operation to place spacers between the bones in my wrists. He says I'll be pain free after the operation but I'm concerned about the amount of mobility I'll have after surgery; will driving, knitting, or gardening be a problem?
Carol Stabb, Petersfield, Hampshire (Winter 2008) 

A) It's difficult to be absolutely sure but I think you have osteoarthritis in the joints at the base of the thumb. As happened with you, treatment with painkillers, splints and injections often controls the problem. When these become ineffective there are operations that can help the problem. Either the joint can be stiffened or the arthritic joint can be replaced by a plastic one. The mobility and function are usually restored following the operations but, like any operation, the surgeon can't guarantee success. The Arthritis Research UK information on hand and wrist surgery will give you with complete information.


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