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In 1991, Kimberly Steinbarger, PT, MHS, had a minor injury that did not heal as expected. She had jammed her finger in a door and, 2 weeks later, found it odd that the swelling had not subsided. Making matters more alarming, one morning she noticed that the same finger on her other hand had swelled up.

Autoimmune

"I was 24, so I was too old for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and too young for adult rheumatoid arthritis, and I had no family history of arthritis," she explains.

Steinbarger, who had been a physical therapist (PT) for just 2 years, was shocked when a rheumatologist eventually diagnosed her with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

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  8. Li R, Zheng Y, Li Y, et al. Common variable immunodeficiency with genetic defects identified by whole exome sequencing. BioMed Res Int. 2018;2018:1-7. doi:10.1155/2018/3724630.
  9. About Primary Immunodeficiencies. Immune Deficiency Foundation. https://primaryimmune.org/about-primary-immunodeficiencies. Accessed August 15, 2019.
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  11. Williams MA, Williamson EM, Heine PJ, et al. Strengthening And stretching for Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand (SARAH). A randomised controlled trial and economic evaluation. Health Technol Assess. 2015;19(19):1-222. doi: 10.3310/hta19190.
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  15. Corvillo I, Varela E, Armijo F, et al. Efficacy of aquatic therapy for multiple sclerosis: a systematic review. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2017;53(6):944-952. doi: 10.23736/S1973-9087.
  16. Profound, debilitating fatigue found to be a major issue for autoimmune disease patients in new national survey. ScienceDaily. March 23, 2015. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150323105245.htm. Accessed August 15, 2019.
  17. Tatta J. The Link Between Nutrition and Pain Is Too Strong to Ignore in Your PT Practice. American Physical Therapy Association website. aspx?blogmonth=11&blogday=16&blogyear=2016&blogid=266. Accessed August 15, 2019.

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