Rheumatoid arthritis (RA):
Arthritis means inflammation of joints. In RA,chronic inflammation of joints primarily synovium (knee joint,hip joint,elbow joint) characterised by bilaterally symmetrical polyarthritis(involvement of more then one joint) with positive RA (rheumatoid arthritis) factor.
Exact cause is not known. RA is thought to be an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune disease means body reacts to one won’s antigen cause damage to the organ.
Genetic predisposition is common
Precipitating cause of RA
- Physical or emotional stress.
- Hormonal disturbances
- Puberty(transformation from child to an adult).
- Menopause(menopause means no menstrual bleeding).
- Commonly seen in womens.
- First thing that you notice in RA is joint stiffness more marked in morning,pain in the joints,limitation of joint movements.
- Fever,malaise,night sweat along with weight loss.
- Joint deformities of the affected joint.
- RA usually starts with smaller joint involvement affecting bilaterally later on involving the bigger joints.
- Joints in RA feels hot on touching the affected joint and tenderness(pain on pressing the affected joint) is present.
- Muscular wasting of above and below of the affected joint.
- Baker’s cyst(commonly seen with herniation of synovial cavity into the back of the knee causing pain and tenderness of calf).
- Common deformities we get to see in RA are:
- Ulnar deviation(ulnar bone is bone that you see above the wrist joint exactly following the little finger).
- Swan neck deformity.
- Z deformity.
- Boutonniere deformity of fingers.
- Local rest to affected joint using the splints to prevent deformity.
- Start with physiotherapy to avoid contractures.
- Regular early morning exercise like simple extension and flexion of affected joint slow and steadily will help relief pain and stiffness.