When we think of rheumatoid arthritis, we think of joints. But the same tissue that is injured in the joints is also injured in the tendons, ligaments and bursae.
The RA body attacks synovial tissue in joints throughout the body. It also attacks the synovial tissue found in the lining of tendon sheaths, ligaments and bursa. Synovial tissue is the target of a maladjusted immune system.
Although my knuckles are enlarged, my hands are deformed and functionally limited because of the damage to the tendons in my hands and forearms. The tendons are enclosed in a fine sheath that is lined with synovial cells that enables the tendon to glide smoothly.
The tendons in the hand are frequently involved in RA and the condition is called tenosynovitis. The Achilles tendon is another tendon commonly affected by RA. This condition is called Achilles tendonitis. This tendon is found in the back of the lower leg and attaches to the heel. It is painfully incapacitating. It is also a common sports injury.
When you start having pain that is not inside the joints, you start to understand that tendons, ligaments are bursae are also the victims of rheumatoid arthritis.