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Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can affect the hands and wrist. Arthritis is a disease of the cartilage in joints and is the leading cause of disability in Americans. Osteoarthritis is the gradual wear of the cartilage surrounding the shoulder’s joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is less common and is characterized as an inflammation of the joints lining. Arthritis is move prevalent among those who are over 50 years old. Treatment options vary based on the severity of pain and discomfort and include physical therapy, medications and surgery.