Last reviewed 01/2018

The prime consideration in rheumatoid arthritis is the control of systemic disease.

The use of splints may reduce pain and swelling and improve mobility. If there is persistent synovitis then local injections with corticosteroids may be useful.

The prevention of deformity as the disease progresses is an increasingly important goal. Synovectomy followed by physiotherapy may be undertaken. Joint instability may require stabilization or arthroplasty.

If deformity is established then treatment should be aimed at restoring function and not correcting deformity.

As a general rule in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: it is the affect on function of a joint, rather than any deformity, that is the most important factor in determining what treatment is required.