Rheumatoid arthritis can affect almost all parts of the body, particularly the tissues lining joints and tendons. The condition causes tissue to swell and cover the joints, thereby destroying bone and cartilage. Early symptoms may include feelings of fatigue shortly before the start of the pain and swelling. As the disease progresses, swelling may move to different joints and usually takes place in the same joint on both sides of the body. It can affect every organ in the body. In the hand, rheumatoid arthritis causes swelling at the wrist and large knuckles. This can destroy the ligaments that hold the hand together and result in deformities such as tendon dislocation or rupture, pressure of the nerves, and bumps or nodules over the joints of the hand. Treatment using anti-inflammatory and cortisone-like medications may give some relief. Establishing limitations in order to avoid further pain and injury may give additional relief. Surgery is considered when other methods no longer work. Surgery may include removing swollen tissue and repair to the damaged tendon along with replacement of the large knuckle to increase function and decrease pain. Surgery is usually followed by a period of physical therapy and rehabilitation. Contact us for a brochure on Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand. The surgeons and staff at The Face & Body Center are available to discuss any questions you may have by calling 866-939-4999 or 939-9999 in the Jackson Metro Area.