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Study Assessed Hand and Foot Function in RA

Arthritis Care Res; ePub 2018 Sep 25; Bremander, et al

Function as assessed with Signals of Functional Impairment (SOFI) improved during the first year in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a recent study found, but it deteriorated slowly thereafter. Furthermore, impaired hand and foot tasks were associated with joint destruction at the 8‐year follow‐up. Altogether, 1,223 patients with early RA (mean age 56.9 [SD 15.4] years; 67% women) were included in the analysis. Data from baseline and from 1 and 8 years were studied. SOFI includes measures of range of motion in the hand, shoulder/arm, and lower extremity (0–44, best to worst). Researchers found:

  • During the first year, there was a mean improvement in SOFI of 2.7 (SD 5.7).
  • Worse scores in Disease Activity Score (DAS28) and Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) at baseline were associated with this improvement.
  • During the next 7 years, there was a mean deterioration in SOFI of 1.5 (SD 4.9).
  • Based on change scores, finger flexion, pincer grip, and toe‐standing were the most important items to measure, explaining 58–61% of the total SOFI score and were also associated with radiographic changes at the 8‐year follow‐up.


Bremander A, Forslind K, Eberhardt K, Andersson MLE. The importance of measuring hand and foot function over the disease course in rheumatoid arthritis: An eight‐year follow‐up study. [Published online ahead of print September 25, 2018]. Arthritis Care Res. doi:10.1002/acr.23764.