How does rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affect the elbow?

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

Elbow involvement is often detected by palpable synovial proliferation at the radiohumeral joint and is commonly accompanied by a flexion deformity, such as in contractures. Involvement of the olecranon bursa is common, as are rheumatoid nodules in the bursa and along the extensor surface of the ulna (see the image below).

Rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid nodules at the el Rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid nodules at the elbow. Photograph by David Effron MD, FACEP.

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