• hand;
  • rheumatoid arthritis;
  • exercises;
  • history


The management of the hand in the patient with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a challenge to all therapists and evidence for optimum management historically scarce. Given that it is estimated that hands and wrists are affected in 80–90% of RA patients (Maini and Feldmann, 1998), it is apparent that this is an important area for both the patient and practitioner. While acknowledging the importance of hand function to the patient with RA (Jones et al., 1991), it should also be admitted that there is little research evidence relating to the conservative management of hand function in this patient population. This paper reviews the research that has been carried out in this area and explores possible areas for further research. Copyright © 2004 Whurr Publishers Ltd.