DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Arthritic knee. Coloured X-ray of a side view of the knee of a 70 year old female patient with rheumatoid arthritis. The joint has become inflamed and swollen. At top is the femur (thigh bone), at bottom is the tibia (shinbone), with the smaller fibula to its right. Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the immune system attacking 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 joint. Treatment is with anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy. In severe cases the joint may be replaced with a prosthetic knee.
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