For citation purposes: Banks LN, Lindau TR. Epidemiology of osteoarthritis of the hand and wrist. OA Musculoskeletal Medicine 2013 Nov 01;1(3):23.

Critical Review

 
Epidemiology

Epidemiology of osteoarthritis of the hand and wrist

LN Banks, TR Lindau
 

Authors affiliations

(1) Consultant Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgeon, Glan Clwyd Hospital, N. Wales, UK

(2) Consultant Hand Surgeon, Pulvertaft Hand Centre, Derby, UK

*Corresponding author Email: louisabanks@hotmail.com

Abstract

Introduction

Osteoarthritis is more common than any other joint disease, and patients often ask what the cause is, enquiring about environmental causes, such as previous occupation. The available literature suggests that factors such as increasing age, gender (female), obesity and genetics may all lead to the development of osteoarthritis of the hand or wrist. It is a multifactorial, heterogenous and complex disease.

This review article presents the evidence that aging, female gender and hereditary factors are the most compelling culprits in the culmination of the primary hand and wrist osteoarthritis.

Materials and methods

Extensive literature search was carried out.

Results

As people age, the risk of developing osteoarthritis increases, with over 90% of those over 80 years of age being afflicted. For patients over the age of 60 years, the rate at which osteoarthritis progresses also increases. The prevalence of osteoarthritis at the base of the thumb has been shown to increase more rapidly in women than in men, with earlier peak prevalence in women. There is questionable evidence about hormonal links and hand osteoarthritis, rather chromosomes, genes and human leukocyte antigen-types are linked.

Co-morbidities, infection, trauma and joint laxity (repetitive trauma) may also lead to the development of the secondary osteoarthritis.

Discussion

A genetic predisposition appears to be the most powerful predictor of osteoarthritis. Hand osteoarthritis affects predominantly women, and their hand arthritis is more likely to progress faster than in males.

Conclusion

Aging, being female and hereditary factors are the most compelling culprits in the culmination and progression of the primary hand and wrist osteoarthritis.

Licensee OA Publishing London 2013. Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY)
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