MIKE DEVLIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MIKE DEVLIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Arthritic hand. Hand of a patient with rheumatoid arthritis. The knuckles have become inflamed and swollen. This is polyarthritis as more than one joint is affected. 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 fingers. Treatment is with anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy.
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