In cases of rheumatic disease special attention should be given to the patient's hands. They are readily examined for manifestations of the disease, and their usefulness is seriously impaired by the resultant deformity. Medical measures include use of salicylates, phenylbutazone, and the steroids for their anti-inflammatory effect. Physical measures include diathermy, paraffin baths, whirlpool baths, ultrasonic treatment, massage, and exercise. Both passive and active exercises for the hand can be performed in a basin of heated water. If a patient is willing to cooperate by spending one or two periods each day in self-treatment he can carry out some of these forms of physical therapy in his own home with considerable benefit.
Crain DC. THE HANDS IN ARTHRITIS. JAMA. 1959;170(7):795–798. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010070035009
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