Optical probing of hemodynamics is often employed in areas such as brain, muscular, and breast-cancer imaging. In these studies an external stimulus is applied and changes in relevant physiological parameters, e.g. oxy or deoxy-hemoglobin concentrations, are determined. In this work we present the first application of this method for characterizing joint diseases, especially effects of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the proximal-interphalangeal (PIP) finger joints. Using a dual-wavelength tomographic imaging system together with previously implemented model-based iterative image reconstruction schemes, we have performed dynamic imaging case studies on a limited number of healthy volunteers and patients diagnosed with RA. Inflating a sphygmomanometer cuff placed around the forearm we elicited a controlled vascular response. We observed pronounced differences between the hemodynamic effect occurring in healthy volunteers and patients affected by RA.