JEAN-DENIS LAREDO, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JEAN-DENIS LAREDO, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured X-ray image of human hands showing deformation due to rheumatoid arthritis. The fingers show ulnar deviation, where the swelling of the knuckle joints forces the fingers away from the midline. 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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