Rheumatoid Arthritis

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INJURY TITLE

Rheumatoid Arthritis

 

INJURY OVERVIEW

An inflammatory arthritis that can have many causes – including systemic ones.

 

INJURY IN-DEPTH INFORMATION

The condition is enormously varied in presentation and severity and so management and treatment will also vary.  Females are affected more than males.  The cause is unknown but it is thought that environment, genetics, stress, diet, trauma can all be potential triggers for the problem.  A major potential trigger is viral infection.

 

The joint becomes inflamed as it protects itself from an invading virus, and so the process begins leading to the following features.  Onset can be very acute (literally waking one morning with stiffness and pain), or can be slow and progressive.

 

COMMON SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

  • Pain (especially at rest)
  • Heat  (joints may feel warm to touch due to the acute inflammation happening)
  • Loss of joint movement and so it becomes difficult to function.
  • Stiffness (especially in the morning of after a period of significant rest)
  • Muscle wasting (around the affected joints)
  • Deformity (from the damaged joints abnormal biomechanics)

 

HOW IS IT ASSESSED

  • Clinical examination for joints affected.
  • X-Ray will highlight the progression of the disease.
  • Blood test will find evidence of inflammation.

 

 

 

GENERAL TREATMENT

  • Management of inflammation using simple interventions like ice, or more specific one like corticosteroid injections into the affected joints.
  • Physiotherapy to help with strength and aerobic capacity (both affected by Rheumatiod arthritis).
  • Hydrotherapy can help although it must be appropriate for the patients state.

 

Exercise Videos: i.e.

  • Rotator cuff strengthening
  • Pec stretch
  • etc

 

WHICH HEALTH PROFESSIONAL TO CONSULT

PHYSIO     

MEDIC     

PODIATRY     

Put an ‘X’ next to each health professional that most commonly deals with this injury.

i.e. tennis elbow would be Physio and Medic as injections are common, whereas for muscular LBP it would be Physio and not Medic as they would just refer them to a Physio.

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