Rheumatoid Arthritis Rice Bodies | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

Rheumatoid Arthritis Rice Bodies

Have you ever heard of Rheumatoid Arthritis rice bodies?

Is there no end to the surprises of Rheumatoid Arthritis? Rice bodies? Huh? This weekend, Chelsea left a comment mentioning rice bodies and I had to check it out.

Here’s some background from the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases about rice bodies: “Rice bodies can occur in the joints in many rheumatic conditions, but they are most common in rheumatoid arthritis. They are generally believed to occur rarely in patients with osteoarthritis…”

What are rice bodies?

Rheumatoid arthritis produces a state of chronic inflammation which is believed to play a role in rice bodies. However the exact cause is unknown. Rice bodies are cells of a cartilage-like material that really resemble grains of rice in tendons, bursae, or synovium. Rice bodies can even occur in patients who do not have a systemic form of Rheumatoid Arthritis, only affecting one joint.

You’ll know why they call them “rice bodies” after you see this startling rice bodies’ photo of a wrist. That’s a viewer warning.  Did you look? Did you say, “Eww”?

In case you don’t want to look, here’s a depiction of rice bodies by Dr. Kulenovic: “Rice bodies were originally described in 1895 in association with tuberculous arthritis. They were called rice bodies because of their macroscopic similarity to grains of polished white rice. They are now most commonly associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and are recognized as a very characteristic feature of RA, but also may be seen in seronegative inflammatory arthritis.”

Apparently, rice bodies can be surgically removed, leading to relief of pain, swelling, and disability.

Just one more thing that can happen when your joints lose touch with reality thanks to Rheumatoid Arthritis. Rice bodies are another crazy thing about this disease that stretches my imagination. If I did not experience it myself, I’d have a hard time believing in a disease that is this peculiar.

Recommended reading:

Kelly O'Neill Young

Kelly O'Neill (formerly Kelly Young) has worked over 10 years as an advocate helping patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the author of the best-selling book Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked: 10 Dangers of Rheumatoid Disease. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Through her writing and speaking, she builds a more accurate awareness of rheumatoid disease (RD) aka rheumatoid arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creates ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and brings recognition and visibility to the RA patient journey. In addition to RA Warrior, she writes periodically for newsletters, magazines, and websites. There are over 60,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook page. You can also connect with Kelly by on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is a mother of five, longtime home-schooler, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. She has lived over thirteen years with unrelenting RD. See also https:/rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

44 thoughts on “Rheumatoid Arthritis Rice Bodies

  • March 22, 2010 at 9:46 am
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    Yuck! I’m sorry that I looked at that before breakfast and I don’t know if I can ever eat rice again!

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  • March 22, 2010 at 9:46 am
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    Yep- I said EWWWWWWWWWW!

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  • March 22, 2010 at 11:03 am
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    Interesting! It never amazes me what this disease is doing to our bodies, but like everyone else…EWWWW! I love rice, but am now taking a second look at it! Thanks as always Kelly for the information even if it made us go ewwww…. 🙂

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  • March 22, 2010 at 12:04 pm
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    Not to be gross but it didnt look like rice more like eggs from some sort of icky thing…. barf and gag and stuff…

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    • March 23, 2010 at 9:22 am
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      OK Shannon, that thought somehow made it even worse. :razzmad:

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  • March 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm
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    I found the article of great interest. No I did not go EWWWWW. Having been in the medical field it didn’t phase me. It does have me wondering though. My hands and wrists look like that as well as lumps on my knees!!

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    • March 23, 2010 at 9:23 am
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      Sheila, Wow, if you really think so, I think they could see it in an MRI.

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  • March 22, 2010 at 1:30 pm
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    I’m glad for once that my laptop won’t pull up pdf’s so as of now rice is not an ewww to me. This still freaks me out, but then again most of the things that are going on with my body anymore freak me out :struggle:

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  • March 22, 2010 at 2:39 pm
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    Thanks Kelly. I just thought my wrists hurt last week after 175 mile dual sport ride. Nothing compared to looking at that photo.

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  • March 22, 2010 at 2:44 pm
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    The article was very interesting, Kelly. Thank you for posting it. I did say ewwww, several times as a matter of fact – like a train wreck I couldn’t look away! I have had RA for almost 20 years and this is the first I’ve heard of this. Glad I haven’t known all this disease will do at the start! I couldn’t have handled the truth!

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    • March 23, 2010 at 9:25 am
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      I kept wondering if it was a hoax. But I found lots more sites with images… :shout:

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  • March 22, 2010 at 6:27 pm
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    Ewwwwwww – so not cool!!!!!

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  • March 23, 2010 at 1:10 am
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    All I can say is….wow….just wow….I don’t think I will ever look at Chinese food the same way again!!!! 😯

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  • March 23, 2010 at 11:17 pm
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    Eeeeewwww! Them’s some humongous ones!

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  • March 23, 2010 at 11:40 pm
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    That is so cool! It looked more like big tapioca to me, but it is really neat. Better yet, it sounds like they can be removed and the area repaired.

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  • June 7, 2010 at 11:47 am
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    I’ve had RA for 30+ years, and had never heard of rice bodies. I had rotator cuff surgery 7 weeks ago and the surgeon said he removed a couple hundred rice bodies from my shoulder. My rhematologist was surprised when I told him, as I had never had any problems with my shoulders before. Now I wonder if this is means that the RA is moving to new joints.

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    • June 7, 2010 at 12:32 pm
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      Janet that is incredible. Thanks so much for sharing. Did the surgeon point to the RA as a cause of the surg. or rice bodies?

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  • June 10, 2010 at 11:55 am
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    The ortho surg believes the rice bodies are a result of RA. However he said that the joint itself looked good. The surgery was a result of me being a klutz. No one seems to know how long the rice bodies had been there and whether they would have eventually caused me problems.

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    • June 10, 2010 at 12:55 pm
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      Thanks Janet. It still amazes me the number of people who tell me their surgeon “saw” RA (erosions, rice bodies, synovitis…) on the inside of them that their rheum doc couldn’t see from the outside. One mysterious disease.

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  • September 15, 2010 at 8:52 am
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    Wow – I’m amazed. I had never heard of it – but thinking about it – those who may have had an unsuccessful joint aspiration when swelling present, could find an answer here with these ‘delightful’ thingys. It’s incredible. I just wonder how many Rheummys know about them?? I think we can hazzard a guess at that answer. 🙄

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    • September 15, 2010 at 1:54 pm
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      I wonder, Kathryn. Yes, I’ve heard they can be “invisible” until a joint was opened up.

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  • September 15, 2010 at 9:12 am
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    EEEEWWWWW….my wrist is killing me already…that just made it worse. I don’t think I’ll be able to have rice tonight with my dinner!

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  • September 15, 2010 at 10:28 am
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    Kelly I found this article very interesting. For some reason I didnt find it gross just interesting. I think it would be interesting if someday they had a test to look for these, or some type of xrays. Especially if it would provide relief for patients. I am sure there are a lot more people that have these than docs realize. Makes me curious to what is in my joints. Not quite ready to have a scaple to feed my curiousty though! LOL.

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  • September 15, 2010 at 1:04 pm
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    when I was first diagnosed with RA I also had what were called ganglion cysts in and around my wrists. Oddly the treatment at the time was to simply shatter them, the Dr put a rubber pad over my wrist and hit it with a rubber hammer. Apparently they are filled with liquid that is reabsorbed. But the look of those things, and it made me wonder if they were somehow related to one another. Does anyone know?

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    • September 15, 2010 at 7:04 pm
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      Thank you for sharing, but I was mortified when I read that. My daughter has had huge ganglion cysts which required surgery. The treatment you got seems barbaric to me. Did it hurt terribly? Were they little? I don’t know if they are related to the rice bodies. They sound different to me because a cyst forms near a joint & there is only 1 or 2 right? It can be caused by trauma or repetitive motion. My daughter’s cause was tennis. But the rice bodies form like colonies of crystals in the synovial fluid of an arhtritic joint.

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      • September 17, 2010 at 8:24 pm
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        It was more shocking than hurtful. It sounds worse than it was, and it was a long time ago. They don’t do that anymore. They were in my wrists, just a couple about the size of robins eggs. I’m glad to find they aren’t the same thing and not related. That looks like it would really hurt!

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  • March 3, 2011 at 2:43 pm
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    I just learned of these this morning!! My 7 yr old with JA has ALWAYS complained of pain behind her knees and we have been told repeatedly that it’s not from her arthritis as the joint is in the front. Well, another mom of JA kid says her daughter had rice bodies show up on MRI and her pain is BEHIND the knee! My Bean has never had an MRI and only ONCE had an xray and that was in the beginning to help diagnose her. What more can I do to figure this out??

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    • March 3, 2011 at 3:38 pm
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      Amy, does the doc examine the back of the knee? My adult RA has swelling behind knees all the time that doc calls Baker’s Cysts and calls it typical RA. Even put a photo in my chart to document it – I don’t know why some docs think only of the front of joints for swelling. Do you think the doc will order a scan of it?

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  • March 3, 2011 at 7:27 pm
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    Never seen them actually look at the backs of her knees. Also her feet, the pain is on the bottoms, we’ve been told since the joints are on the top, that’s not from the arthritis either. REALLY eager for her appointment next Wednesday! I’ll be blogging about it for sure!

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  • August 22, 2011 at 9:39 am
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    My son recently diagnosed with monoarticular JRA, has complained of ‘movable hard things’ in his knee. He says there is ‘at least 1 and probably 3.’ His pediatric rheumatologist thinks they are probably rice bodies. Not having a clue as to what those were, I’ve been researching.
    Wow, and yes, ‘Eww!’ His Dr. says if he has pain and problems from them, an orthopedic surgeon can remove them. My son’s a healthy, year-round swimmer who hasn’t really been too slowed down by this disease–thank goodness!–and I hate to have this if we can avoid it but the pesky hard nodules are painful and aggravating. I’m not sure what to do about it. 🙁

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  • February 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm
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    I was diagnosed with JRA when I was 16. It went into remission two years later. Until it turned up again at age 39 (2011). My shoulder started bothering me a lot, I thought I had done something to injure it. Doc thought bursitis and we treated with prednisone. It was fine for a couple of weeks and then the pain came back. In the meantime my knee began swelling and painful. This is when RA was diagnosed. Shoulder has continue to bother me so I just had an MRI this week and it turns out there are rice bodies! That’s how I found this thread…I googled rice bodies. Crazy stuff. We are trying to get the RA under control with MTX and probably adding injections soon. Treating with high dose pred now. Thanks for this blog, it has been helpful!

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      • February 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm
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        aww, thanks kelly! i need to update…i’m a bad blogger 🙂

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        • February 3, 2012 at 3:04 pm
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          omygosh you’re so talented. And the list of things here I’d update would take my whole life long. So it is as good as we can get it! And you have kids too so that’s a huge. Are they going to try to remove the rice bodies?

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          • February 3, 2012 at 10:19 pm
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            Yes you are right , we do the best we can!
            Thanks for sweet words Kelly.
            Dr wants to get ra under control before we remove rice bodies. So we’re doing lots of pred for a week to help shoulder. and then I go back to rheum in two weeks. I think we probably will eventually (remove them). It’s amazing how good my shoulder feels after two days of 60mg pred!

  • March 28, 2012 at 4:40 pm
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    I have symmetrical bumps on the soles of my feet. I asked the podiatrist, he said they were rheumatoid nodules, but I knew he was wrong because I have those, too, and rheumatoid nodules are much smaller. My rheumatologist did an ultrasound and said it was a complex cyst and that he’d take the fluid out w/a needle. UGH!Well, that didn’t work, so he told me that the bumps were filled with rice bodies and that they went from the bottom of my foot all the way to the joint. He told me that I’d have to have an orthopedic surgeon remove them. I went to a surgeon and he said it was up to me: have the surgery (which would be pretty bad, I’d be off my feet for a long time) or else get good orthotics. I’m going with the orthotics for now.
    thanks SO MUCH for writing about this, it was very helpful. Great site!

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  • April 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm
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    Hi Kelly

    I’m sitting up in bed following surgery to remove hundreds of rice bodies from my hand. My surgeon had said the surgery would take about 20 min. I had gone to him because my middle finger had what looked like a boil on the joint just above the palm. Dr said the surgery needed to be done right away before the tendon blew. The surgery lasted 2 hrs and the dr said he had to cut all the way to my wrist and said he was exhausted and still did not get all of them out. I have 2 large “bumps” about the size of a golf balls on my wrist the dr said were full of RB. This makes the 7th surg. on this hand. Does it ever stop or will I continue to require more surg.? Is there any trestment other then surg. to help it? None of my doctors had ever seen rice bodies before.

    Any help or information is greatly appreciated.

    Thank You
    Jeanette

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  • May 18, 2013 at 11:19 pm
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    I AM NOT ALONE! I have rice bodies invading me as well! Everywhere! I am like a walking rice steamer! Anyway to get rid of these other than surgery??? :-S

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  • September 11, 2016 at 3:48 pm
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    I had hundreds of rice bodies removed from my left shoulder none of the rhumatoid nurses had never heard of it before

    Reply

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