In short, rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease which attacks joints in the body. It can affect the alignment and positioning of those joints, even to the extent that they become stuck in a bent position or become dislocated. Bone erosion caused by RA may make the ends of bones rough and irregular. Patients may eventually notice that their fingers begin to shift toward the direction of their elbow.
In previous posts, we have discussed different types of surgery used in patients living with rheumatoid arthritis, including synovectomy, tendon repair, and carpal tunnel release . Today’s discussion centers around joint replacement and implants.
What is Joint Replacement?
One would think that this is a simple question, right? Take the joint out and put a fake or replacement one in. But in researching this subject, I found it rather difficult to find information which went much beyond this simple concept without become ...
Rheumatoid arthritis is a tricky disease to diagnose in its early stages as patients can develop any of a wide range of symptoms and there is no single diagnostic measure by which RA can be confirmed or denied. Symptoms may not be constant; they may begin slowly, come and go, or progress over weeks or months. Symptoms may appear in one part of the body and disappear for a time (remission) to reappear somewhere else later on (flare).
The “typical” presentation of early RA includes joint stiffness in the mornings lasting for more than 30 minutes and pain and swelling in the small joints of the hands or feet, particularly in those that attach the fingers and toes, which persists for weeks. As the disease progresses, symptoms often spread to larger joints, such as knees, ankles, elbows, shoulders, and hips.
But for many patients with RA, early symptoms are less narrowly defined or disease-specific. And diagnosis can be challenging for medical professionals because there are s...
The neurologist asks me to bend my head forward and immediately I feel a shock of sensation travel down my arms into my fingers. It’s kind of a vibration, buzzing, or tingling more than a shooting pain. I have just shown a positive L’Hermitte's sign .
The extra buzzing I felt is called a dysesthesia since the unusual sensation was provoked by bending my head forward, in contrast to a paresthesia which describes spontaneous tingling, buzzing, partial numbness, sharp pains, or electrical shocks. I get those too.
Not everybody experiences the L’Hermitte's symptom in the same way. For some patients, it is described as an intense electric shock which feels like you’ve just shoved a finger or toe into an electrical outlet. For some, it may just be a very subtle tingling in the fingers, legs, or toes. Or for others, the wave of sensation can also travel down the truck or upwards to the head.
I have been asked, &l...
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