Rheumatoid Arthritis and physical therapy

Rheumatoid Arthritis and physical therapy

Rheumatoid arthritis is a common multisystem autoimmnune disease and associated with systemic chronic joint disease.

The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is still unkown, but is recognised as a type of autoimmune disorider.
Rheumatoid arthritis involves inflammatory and immune cells migrate into synovial tissue which results in a breakdown of cartilage and bone.

Criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Morning stiffness in and around the joint that last for at least 1 hour.
  • Atrhritis in three or more joint areas.
  • Swelling of wrist, MCP, or hand joints
  • Bilateral involvement for at least 6 weeks.
  • Bony prominence, subcutaneous nodules and extensor surfaces in juxta (near or in the region of a joint) joint region.
  • Radiographic changes on the hand and wrist.

Diagnosis for Rheumatoid Arthritis

The first step for diagnosis Rheumatoid Arthritis is the history behind, together with examination and laboratory investigation and X-ray.

Monitoring for Rheumatoid Arthritis

The treatment plan is to monitorer the development with regular intervals. Often this involved observation of the inflammation and the bloodtest for anaemia (low level of red blood cells). Futhermore measurement of pain, morning stiffness, general fatique, joint function should be observe.

To score the severity of joint inflammation, the ritchie Index are commenly used. For measure function Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) and Arthritis Impact Measurement Scale (AIMS) is used.

Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Overall, the major goals of treatment os to minimise joint inflammation and joint damage, prevent loss of function, reduce symptoms of pain, stiffness and fatique.

This have to be a multidisciplinary approach in can involved training such pharmacological medicine.

Splints general principles

Splints can be classified by their design or by their function.

  • Resting splints are used to relieve pain, decrease inflammation, prevent development contures and joint alignment, decrease / alleviate  symptoms of nerve entrapment, support ligaments and joint capsule.
  • Functional splints: Relieve pain, support unstable joint, accommodate for muscle weakness and atrophy, protect against further damage., assist in controlling inflammation and pretect against nerve entrapment.
  • Corrective splints: Used to modify soft tissue contratures.



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Andreas Bjerregaard
Articles: 317

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