Joint Count

A joint count assesses the number of swollen or tender joints in the a patient’s body. Physicians use this count to evaluate the presence and severity of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The 28-joint count, the most common count, involves assessment of the joints of the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, fingers, and knees. It excludes joints of the feet because nonarthritic conditions such as fluid retention or other variables such as wearing some types of footwear may cause abnormalities in these joints.

This column is written by Robert S. Dinsmoor, a medical writer and editor based in Massachusetts.

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