North Hampshire Hospital
The Hampshire Clinic
Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK

Mr John Britton FRCS
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Information for patients undergoing orthopaedic treatment



The hand in rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis often attacks the hand causing both pain and deformity; function however is commonly well preserved. Surgery is aimed and maintaining function and relieving pain.

A typical rheumatoid hand
 showing swollen knuckles
 (MCP joints) and deformed

The surgical management of the rheumatoid hand is extremely complex and a variety of different procedures may be required. The more commonly used procedures are:

  • Repair of ruptured tendons
       Tendons often rupture because of rheumatoid infiltration causing 'dropped finger'

  • Replacement of metacarpo-phalangeal joints
       Knuckle joints often become deformed and painful

  • Fusion of unstable joints
       Unstable wrist and thumb joints may be surgically stiffened


J M Britton 2007

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