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How does rheumatoid arthritis cause joint deformities?

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When you have rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system attacks your joints:

Inflammation wears down bone and cartilage, the tissue that cushions the ends of bones that make up a joint. Swelling can also stretch out tissues that help keep the joint in place. All this damage can lead to unstable joints with bones that don’t line up the way they should.

  • Immune cells gather inside the joint lining.
  • They form a layer of abnormal tissue.
  • The tissue releases chemicals that cause swelling, or inflammation.

SOURCES:

Arthritis Foundation: “Joint Deformities in Rheumatoid Arthritis.”

Merck Manual: “Osteoarthritis of the Hand.”

American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society: “Bunions,” “Claw Toe.”

UpToDate: “Patient education: Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms and Diagnosis (Beyond the Basics).”

American Society for Surgery of the Hand: “Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand.”

Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network: “Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).”

International Journal of Rheumatology : “Current Concepts in the Management of Rheumatoid Hand.”

University of Washington: “Hand and Wrist Arthritis.”

Hospital for Special Surgery: “Synovectomy.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Joint Replacement.”

Reviewed by David Zelman on June 21, 2019

SOURCES:

Arthritis Foundation: “Joint Deformities in Rheumatoid Arthritis.”

Merck Manual: “Osteoarthritis of the Hand.”

American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society: “Bunions,” “Claw Toe.”

UpToDate: “Patient education: Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms and Diagnosis (Beyond the Basics).”

American Society for Surgery of the Hand: “Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand.”

Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network: “Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).”

International Journal of Rheumatology : “Current Concepts in the Management of Rheumatoid Hand.”

University of Washington: “Hand and Wrist Arthritis.”

Hospital for Special Surgery: “Synovectomy.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Joint Replacement.”

Reviewed by David Zelman on June 21, 2019

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What happens in rheumatoid arthritis joint deformities?

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