rheumatoid arthritis of the knee

Last reviewed 01/2018

The knee is not normally affected by rheumatoid arthritis in isolation though monoarthropathies are occasionally seen.

The knee, like any affected joint, is warm and there is effusion, limited movement, muscle wasting, synovial thickening, tenderness and pain. There may also be secondary joint deformation which is usually valgus, but can be varus or flexion.

Treatment is usually with conservative measures: local splintage and steroid injection.

Surgical intervention includes:

  • synovectomy
  • total hip replacement

These are only carried out in selected cases.