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 deoxyhemoglobin 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 modelbased 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.