If you’d like to share the story behind your tattoo, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include: a photo of your tattoo, a short description of why you got it or why you love it, and your name.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic inflammatory disease that causes inflammation in the lining of the joints. With RA, you can experience joint pain, swelling, stiffness, or even loss of joint function.
Many people get tattoos for a variety of reasons, and that goes for anyone living with chronic conditions like RA, too. Some may choose to get inked to raise awareness, while others do it to help maintain emotional or physical strength during a difficult moment. No matter the reason, each tattoo is a work of art that’s unique and personal in their own right.
That’s why we asked our readers and community members to submit their RA tattoos. Scroll down to check out their designs.
“The tattoo says it all! Needless to say that I have a lot more faith than I do strength. Each day is a new battle to win. I had to stop working a couple of years ago and this tattoo is a constant reminder to keep my head up and to find creative ways to get through each moment.” — Melissa
“I got this tattoo from Lindsay Dorman to represent the mask that we all put on. Seemingly beautiful and everything is put together well. Flawless. [That is], until you look under the mask and see the reality of pain. The RA awareness colors were used throughout the piece as well.” — Anonymous
“I am 61 years young and was diagnosed with RA 6 years ago. Through it all, the struggles dealing with the aches and pains, I have learned so much about myself. My family has been the most supportive and so willing to learn everything there is to know about RA. This past month, my daughter wanted to have a shared tattoo with me, so this is the design we chose: A purple and blue ribbon to signify RA awareness to form a heart to say how [my daughter and I] love each other. She has been my best friend through all of my ups and downs. We placed our tattoos on our hands so people will see it and ask what it stands for, so we can help make more people aware of RA.” — Kelly
“I got this tattoo to remind myself that we can still be at peace when RA gets sore and hard, and life gets on top of me.” — Anonymous
“This is a quote by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. He too had RA. Before his death, he was confined to his home. He was visited daily by Henri Matisse. Renoir, almost paralyzed by arthritis, continued to paint in spite of his infirmities. One day, as Matisse watched the elder painter work in his studio, fighting torturous pain with each brush stroke, he blurted out, ‘Auguste, why do you continue to paint when you are in such agony?’”
“Renoir replied, ‘The pain passes, but the beauty remains.’”
“This inspired me. Not only because Renoir had RA, but because these words touched my heart in a profound way as I realized that my pain was producing a beautiful brokenness. I have never viewed suffering in the same light since then.” — Shamane LaDue
“I have had juvenile idiopathic arthritis since I was 7 years old and now I’m 19 years old. About three years ago, the arthritis started to deteriorate my right jaw joint and I ended up getting an implant this year. The reason why I got this tattoo is because it has been an emotional and long battle, but I need to have faith and stay strong. My mom got a tattoo with me as well because she wants to support me through this journey. Arthritis sucks!” — Brittany Melendez
“My mom was a true fighter. When she found out she had cancer, she decided to live her life to the fullest and never quit fighting it. I lost her 9 years ago, but she is the one who gave me the strength and raised me to never quit fighting. The butterfly on top of the [RA] awareness ribbon signifies her.” — Anonymous