What areas of the body are commonly affected by rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) typically affects your body in many different ways. Most commonly joints are impacted. The areas in a joint that can be damaged are:

  • Synovium -a thin, delicate lining in joints that helps synthesize lubricants and collagens that form the structural framework of the joint. A normal synovial lining is 1 - 3 cells thick. In RA joints, this lining grows abnormally thick (also referred to as hypertrophied) to 8 - 10 cells, contributing to bone and cartilage erosion.
  • Cartilage - normally a very strong tissue, RA damages cartilage the make-up of cartilage allowing the inflammation to reach bone.
  • Bone - due to inflammation and loss of cartilage, erosion of bone in the joints is common among people with RA.
  • Synovial Cavity - in RA the area around the joint may hold large collections of fluid (known as effusions).

Continue Learning about Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you have rheumatoid arthritis (or RA), you have painful swelling in hands, fingers, wrists - and stiffness that makes everyday living difficult. RA is an autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the tissues...

. RA is more common among women than men. Some have only one brief episode, while others have episodes off and on throughout their lives. It's important to consult with a rheumatologist right away when you develop symptoms, as early treatment can help keep RA under control.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.