Which assessments should be included in the physical exam for rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?

Updated: Feb 07, 2020
  • Author: Howard R Smith, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

The physical examination should address the following:

  • Upper extremities (metacarpophalangeal joints, wrists, elbows, shoulders)

  • Lower extremities (ankles, feet, knees, hips)

  • Cervical spine

During the physical examination, it is important to assess the following:

  • Stiffness

  • Tenderness

  • Pain on motion

  • Swelling

  • Deformity

  • Limitation of motion

  • Extra-articular manifestations

  • Rheumatoid nodules


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