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What types of joint deformities does rheumatoid arthritis cause?

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RA can cause:

  • Ulnar drift: Your fingers lean away from your thumb and toward your pinky.
  • Boutonnie?re or buttonhole deformity: Your middle finger joint bends toward your palm. The top joint bends up.
  • Swan-neck deformity: The base and top joint of your finger bend down. The middle joint is straight.
  • Hitchhiker’s thumb or z-shaped deformity: Your thumb flexes at the bottom joint and bends back at the top joint.
  • Bunion. The base of your big toe gets larger and sticks out. It may press against the second toe, so it overlaps the third.
  • Claw toe: Your toe might bend up from the ball of your foot; down toward the sole of your shoe at the middle joint; or down at the top joint.

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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Can medications help with rheumatoid arthritis joint deformities?

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