Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis is the most common autoimmune disease in Australia. People with rheumatoid arthritis experience inflammation that affects their whole body. In particular, it causes pain in joints of the wrist, hands and feet. Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than men. The condition usually first occurs between the ages of 40 and 50 years.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

The most common symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is joints that are swollen, painful and stiff. This particularly affects the wrists, fingers and toes. Other joints including the shoulders, elbows, knees, ankles and neck may also be affected.


Typical rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include:

  • Sudden onset joint pain with no apparent cause or injury
  • Joints can feel warm and inflamed
  • Pain is worse after rest or first thing in the morning
  • Feeling generally unwell and losing weight
  • Fatigue that is not relieved by rest.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Assessment

Early diagnosis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis is important. Left untreated it can cause damage to joints and organs in the long term. Diagnosis is usually made based on persistent symptoms and a blood test.


A typical assessment includes:

  • A conversation about your symptoms, general health and relevant medical history
  • A thorough examination of the affected areas
  • An assessment of your strength and ability to move the joints
Hand Conditions, Treatment, Assessment, Arthritis, Jamar, Dynamometer

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatments

Currently, Rheumatoid Arthritis does not have a cure. Good management of the condition is possible with medications and joint protection strategies. These include:


  • Custom made splints to provide pain relief and allow for functional use of the hand
  • Joint protection advice and education on appropriate movement
  • Ergonomic appliances to help you perform daily activities
  • Specific exercise programs such as the SARAH rheumatoid arthritis management program
  • Surgery may be an option if conservative treatments are not effective
Melbourne Hand Rehab SARAH program for rheumatoid arthritis
SARAH: Strengthening and stretching for rheumatoid arthritis of the hand logo

What’s next?

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, consult one of our hand therapy practitioners today.


Click HERE to conveniently book an appointment online.


For enquiries and appointments please call 03 9458 5166 or conveniently book online.