Wrist Replacement : Causes, Symptoms, and Effective Physiotherapy Treatment

Wrist replacement, also known as wrist arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure performed to replace a damaged or arthritic wrist joint with an artificial joint, similar to how hip or knee replacements are done. It is typically considered when other non-surgical treatments, such as medications, injections, and physical therapy, have not provided sufficient relief from wrist pain and functional limitations. Here are the causes, symptoms, and effective physiotherapy treatment for wrist replacement:


1. Osteoarthritis: The most common reason for wrist replacement is osteoarthritis, which is the degeneration of the wrist joint due to wear and tear over time.

2. Rheumatoid Arthritis: This autoimmune disease can also affect the wrist joint, causing pain and inflammation.

3. Post-Traumatic Arthritis: Wrist injuries, such as fractures or severe sprains, can lead to the development of arthritis in the wrist joint.

4. Failed Previous Surgeries: In some cases, individuals may require wrist replacement if previous surgeries, such as wrist fusion, were unsuccessful.


1. Wrist Pain: Persistent, often severe pain in the wrist, which may worsen with movement.

2. Stiffness: Reduced range of motion in the wrist joint.

3. Weakness: Difficulty in gripping objects or performing daily activities.

4. Swelling: Inflammation and swelling around the wrist joint.

5. Deformity: Wrist deformities may be visible in cases of advanced arthritis or joint damage.

Effective Physiotherapy Treatment for Wrist Replacement:

Physiotherapy is a crucial component of the rehabilitation process following wrist replacement surgery. It aims to improve the strength, flexibility, and overall function of the wrist and hand. Here are some key components of effective physiotherapy treatment for wrist replacement:

1. Early Mobilization: Physiotherapy typically begins shortly after the surgery, focusing on gentle mobilization exercises to prevent stiffness and maintain range of motion.

2. Strengthening Exercises: As the healing process progresses, strengthening exercises are introduced to regain wrist and hand strength. These exercises are usually tailored to the individual’s needs and may include gripping exercises and resistance training.

3. Range of Motion Exercises: Physiotherapists work on restoring the wrist’s full range of motion through controlled stretching and flexibility exercises.

4. Pain Management: Techniques such as manual therapy, modalities like ice or heat, and gentle massage may be used to manage post-surgery pain and reduce inflammation.

5. Functional Training: The focus of physiotherapy is not only on isolated joint movements but also on functional activities. Patients are guided on how to perform daily tasks, such as writing, dressing, and cooking, using their newly replaced wrist.

6. Patient Education: Patients are educated about proper joint protection techniques and home exercises to continue their recovery outside of therapy sessions.

7. Adaptive Devices: In some cases, adaptive devices such as wrist splints may be recommended to support and protect the wrist during the healing process.

The duration and intensity of physiotherapy may vary from person to person, depending on the specific needs and progress of the patient. It’s essential to work closely with a qualified physiotherapist and follow their guidance to achieve the best outcomes after wrist replacement surgery. Additionally, the success of wrist replacement surgery and rehabilitation also depends on factors such as the patient’s overall health and adherence to the prescribed treatment plan.

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