SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Arthritic hands. Coloured X-ray of the hands of a patient with severe rheumatoid polyarthritis. The thumbs are at right and left. Arthritis is joint inflammation. Polyarthritis means that more than one joint is affected. Rheumatoid arthritis is where the immune system attacks the body's own tissues, causing progressive joint and cartilage destruction. As the cartilage is worn away, new bone grows as part of the repair process. This causes stiffness and deformity of the fingers. Treatment is with anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy.
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