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Arthritis and Rheumatism

What Could Little Balls in the Wrist Indicate?



I have RA in my hands. When I make a fist, in the middle of my wrist, I can see what I think are the tendons move back and forth as I move my fingers. But it looks like thereĀ are little balls on them. I thought that it might be nodules or ganglin cycsts. I didn`t think that I could get those things since I am seronegetive. Is this normal and what could this be?


You are right. It is possible that they are rheumatoid nodules or ganglion (aka, synovial or mucinous) cysts. Although rheumatoid nodules are associated with a positive rheumatoid factor (RF) in the overwhelming majority of cases, it is still possible to see them in a small percent of individuals with seronegative rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Synovial cysts are a distinct entity from rheumatoid nodules. A cyst forms from the lining of the joint or tendon usually due to an "irritatant" (for lack of a better word) effect from degenerative arthritis, inflammatory arthritis, trauma, or other causes including no specific known cause.

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Response by:

Raymond  Hong, MD, MBA, FACR Raymond Hong, MD, MBA, FACR
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University