This is the official website of the South African Rheumatism and Arthritis Association, home of the rheumatology community of South Africa. Our aim is to promote, maintain and protect the honour and interest of the discipline of rheumatology as a medical specialty for the benefit of all.

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Patient Centre

Rheumatiod Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (rue-ma-TOYD arth-write-tis) is a chronic disease, mainly characterized by inflammation of the lining, or synovium, of the joints. It can lead to long-term joint damage, resulting in chronic pain, loss of function and disability


Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a form of autoimmune arthritis that falls within a category of arthritides known as spondyloarthritides. It affects young patients less than 45 years of age, with a higher frequency in men compared to women.


Biologics are manmade medicines that closely resemble a protein that occurs naturally in the body.


Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.


Gout is an inflammatory arthritis caused by the deposition of monosodium urate crystals (MSU) in joints and other tissues. It is common in men older than 40 years and is rare in premenopausal women. (it can occur at any age in men, even in their 20s). It is now the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in the world.


The joint hypermobility syndrome is a condition that features joints that easily move beyond the normal range expected for that particular joint.

Inflammatory Myopathies

Myopathy is a general medical term used to describe a number of conditions affecting the muscles. All myopathies cause muscle weakness. The idiopathic inflammatory myopathies are a group of diseases in which inflammation occurs in muscles and often in organs and tissues other than muscle. muscle weakness, and, in some cases, muscle pain.

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmunity means immunity against self: The immune system attacks the body as if it were a virus or other harmful organism. JIA patients generally do well when they’re diagnosed quickly and treated appropriately.

Lower Back Pain

Back pain is a common problem, which affects many people at some point. It’s often caused by a simple muscle, tendon or ligament strain and not usually by a serious problem.

Osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the commonest form of arthritis; it is a degenerative condition and is often referred to as “wear and tear” arthritis. It may be completely asymptomatic and found incidentally on an x-ray or it may cause significant symptoms in affected patients.


The word ‘osteoporosis’ means, literally, ‘porous bone’. It is a condition where you gradually lose bone material so that your bones become more fragile. As a result, they are more likely to break even after a simple fall. Osteoporosis is common in South Africa.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)

Polymyalgia Rheumatica is a form of inflammatory arthritis predominantly causing pain and stiffness affecting the hips, neck and shoulder areas. Symptoms can be sudden or more gradual in onset and are often associated with feelings of fatigue and even a low-grade fever.

Psoriatic Arthritis (PSA)

Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that occurs in patients who have a skin condition called psoriasis. It can also happen in person who has a close family member with psoriasis. It is a chronic arthritis which presents in different ways.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. It is caused by your own immune system attacking your own tissue like joints. It causes pain and swelling of the joints.

Rheumatoid Arthritis in the Foot and Ankle

90% of patients will develop symptoms in their foot or ankle due to RA. These symptoms can range from mild inflammation and stiffness in the joints too developing deformities and arthritis.


Scleroderma is also known as Systemic Sclerosis. It is an autoimmune disease, where your immune system attacks your healthy cells. The word ‘scleroderma’ means ‘hard skin’. Scleroderma affects the connective tissues of the body.

Sjögren’s Syndrome

Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease, where your immune system attacks your healthy cells, especially glands that produce moisture for your body. The disease typically affects glands that make tears in the eyes, and saliva in the mouth causing dry eye or dry mouth or both at the same time.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) or Lupus

LUPUS belongs to a group of disorders of our body’s immune system, known as “autoimmune diseases”. Normally, the immune system protects our body from harm, by producing antibodies, which attack invaders such as viruses and bacteria.

RA Drugs

Chloroquine (Nivaquine/Plasamoaquine) / Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)

Chloroquine is an antimalarial agent
It is used to treat:
Rheumatoid Arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and its associated skin conditions, Childhood Arthritis (Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis), Antiphospholipid Syndrome and other Autoimmune Diseases.


Methotrexate is one of the most effective and commonly used medications in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of inflammatory arthritis, and also may be used to treat lupus, inflammatory myositis, vasculitis, and some forms of childhood arthritis.

Sulfasalazine (Salazopyrin)

A combination of aspirin-like anti-inflammatory (5 – aminosalicylic acid) component and a sulphur antibiotic-like component (sulfapyridine)
It is used to treat:
Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and some other autoimmune conditions.

Biologic Education

Rheumatoid Arthritis, Spondyloarthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis are all autoimmune diseases. Your body’s immune system protects you from infection by attacking bacteria and viruses that invade your body. In autoimmune diseases, your immune system stays stimulated and overproduction of TNF by some immune cells results in an exaggerated immune and inflammatory response and is one of the main culprits that lead to joint and bone damage.
BIOLOGICS: Biologics are disease-modifying agents.
It is a protein that resembles a human antibody which targets TNF, thereby blocking the effect in its continual inflammatory cycle. Benefits are maintained as long as you stay on the biologic medication
Simply put – Biologics switch off your disease and allows your body to heal itself.