Frequent monitoring of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients enables timely treatment adjustments and improved outcomes. Currently this is not feasible due to a shortage of rheumatologists. An optical spectral transmission device is presented for objective assessment of joint inflammation in RA patients, while improving diagnostic accuracy and clinical workflow. A cross-sectional, nonrandomized observational study was performed with this device. In the study, 77 proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joints in 67 patients have been analyzed. Inflammation of these PIP joints was also assessed by a rheumatologist with a score varying from 1 (not inflamed) to 5 (severely inflamed). Out of 77 measurements, 27 were performed in moderate to strongly inflamed PIP joints. Comparison between the clinical assessment and an optical measurement showed a correlation coefficient r=0.63, p<0.001, 95% CI [0.47, 0.75], and a ROC curve (AUC=0.88) that shows a relative good specificity and sensitivity. Optical spectral transmission measurements in a single joint correlate with clinical assessment of joint inflammation, and therefore might be useful in monitoring joint inflammation in RA patients.