What is Rheumatoid Arthritis? | Hands & Wrist Symptoms | MedStar Health

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

RA is an immune system dysfunction that attacks and wears away the cartilage lining between the small delicate bones in your hand and wrist. Rheumatoid arthritis generally affects the joints on both hands.


Hand Symptoms

  • Pain or burning in the hand joints, especially in the morning and with heavy use
  • Swelling
  • Warmth due to inflammation
  • Nearby joints become unusually flexible to compensate for the affected joint
  • Feeling or hearing grinding of the joint inside the hand
  • Appearance of cysts on the fingers

Wrist Symptoms

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Lack of strength
  • Difficulty moving the wrist

Our surgeons have the expertise to help you overcome any challenge your arthritis presents. We treat the entire spectrum of arthritis disorders — from early-stage management to end-stage joint replacement — and offer advanced treatment options, including the latest arthroscopic and minimally invasive surgical techniques. We will work with you to develop a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs and the demands of your daily life.