||Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune, systemic, inflammatory disorder that mainly af- fects bone joints. While there is no cure for this disease, continuous advances on palliative treatments require frequent verification of patient’s illness evolution. Such evolution is mea- sured through several available semi-quantitative methods that require evaluation of hand and foot X-ray images. Accurate assessment is a time consuming task that requires highly trained personnel. This hinders a generalized use in clinical practice for early diagnose and disease follow-up. In the context of the automatization of such evaluation methods we present a method for detection and characterization of finger joints in hand radiography images. Several measures for assessing the reduction of joint space width are proposed. We compare for the first time such measures to the Van der Heijde score, the gold standard method for rheumatoid arthritis assessment. The proposed method outperforms existing strategies with a detection rate above 95%. Our comparison to Van der Heijde index shows a promising correlation that encourages further research.