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Harrison’s Manual of Medicine



Enteropathic Arthritis
Neuropathic Joint Disease
Relapsing Polychondritis
Hypertrophic Osteoarthropathy
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSDS)
Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)
Osteonecrosis (Avascular Necrosis)
Periarticular Disorders

Both peripheral and axial arthritis may be associated with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. The arthritis can occur after or before the onset of intestinal symptoms. Peripheral arthritis is episodic, asymmetric, and most frequently affects knee and ankle. Attacks usually subside within several weeks and characteristically resolve completely without residual joint damage. Enthesitis (inflammation at insertion of tendons and ligaments into bone) can occur with manifestations of “sausage digit,” Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis. Axial involvement can manifest as spondylitis and/or sacroiliitis (often symmetric). Laboratory findings are nonspecific; rheumatoid factor (RF) absent; radiographs of peripheral joints usually normal; axial involvement is often indistinguishable from ankylosing spondylitis (Fig. 161-1).

Directed at underlying inflammatory bowel disease; NSAIDs may alleviate joint symptoms; sulfasalazine may benefit peripheral arthritis.

INTESTINAL BYPASS ARTHRITIS   Some pts will develop arthritis- dermatitis following intestinal bypass surgery. Possibly related to bacterial overgrowth. Symptoms may be relieved by NSAIDs, suppression of bacterial overgrowth with tetracycline or other antibiotics, or surgical reanastomosis of bypassed segment.
WHIPPLE’S DISEASE   Characterized by arthritis in up to 90% of pts that usually precedes appearance of intestinal symptoms. Usually polyarticular, symmetric, transient but may become chronic. GI and joint manifestations respond to antibiotic therapy.
Also known as Charcot’s joint, this is a severe destructive arthropathy that occurs in joints deprived of pain and position sense; may occur in diabetic neuropathy, tabes dorsalis, syringomyelia, amyloidosis, spinal cord or peripheral nerve injury. Usually begins in a single joint but may spread to involve other joints. Joint effusions are usually noninflammatory but can be hemorrhagic. Radiographs can reveal either bone resorption or new bone formation with bone dislocation and fragmentation.

Stabilization of joint; surgical fusion may improve function.

An idiopathic disorder characterized by recurrent inflammation of cartilaginous structures. Cardinal manifestations include ear and nose involvement with floppy ear and saddlenose deformities, inflammation and collapse of tracheal and bronchial cartilaginous rings, asymmetric episodic nondeforming polyarthritis. Other features can include scleritis, conjunctivitis, iritis, keratitis, aortic regurgitation, glomerulonephritis, and other features of systemic vasculitis. Onset is frequently abrupt, with the appearance of 1–2 sites of cartilaginous inflammation. Diagnosis is made clinically and may be confirmed by biopsy of affected cartilage. Diagnostic criteria have also been proposed.

Glucocorticoids (prednisone 40–60 mg/d with subsequent taper) may suppress acute features and reduce the severity/frequency of recurrences. Cytotoxic agents may be considered for unresponsive disease or for pts who require high glucocorticoid doses. Methotrexate has been found by some to be effective.

Syndrome consisting of periosteal new bone formation, digital clubbing, and arthritis. Most commonly seen in association with lung carcinoma but also occurs with chronic lung or liver disease; congenital heart, lung, or liver disease in children; and idiopathic and familial forms. Symptoms include burning and aching pain most pronounced in distal extremities. Radiographs show periosteal thickening with new bone formation of distal ends of long bones.

Identify and treat associated disorder; aspirin, NSAIDs, other analgesics, vagotomy or percutaneous nerve block may help to relieve symptoms.

A common disorder characterized by pain, aching, stiffness of trunk and extremities, and presence of a number of specific tender points. More common in women than men. Frequently associated with sleep disorders. Diagnosis is made clinically; evaluation reveals soft tissue tender points but no objective joint abnormalities by exam, laboratory, or radiograph.

Benzodiazepines or tricyclics for sleep disorder, local measures (heat, massage, injection of tender points), NSAIDs.

A syndrome of pain and tenderness, usually of a hand or foot, associated with vasomotor instability, trophic skin changes, and rapid development of bony demineralization. Frequently, development will follow a precipitating event (local trauma, myocardial infarction, stroke, or peripheral nerve injury). Early recognition and treatment can be effective in preventing disability.

Options include pain control, application of heat or cold, exercise, sympathetic nerve block, and short courses of high-dose prednisone in conjunction with physical therapy.

Clinical syndrome characterized by aching and morning stiffness in the shoulder girdle, hip girdle, or neck for >1 month, elevated ESR, and rapid response to low-dose prednisone (15 mg qd). Rarely occurs before age 50. PMR can occur in association with giant cell (temporal) arteritis, which requires treatment with higher doses of prednisone. Evaluation should include a careful history to elicit Sx suggestive of giant cell arteritis (Chap. 160); ESR; labs to rule out other processes usually include RF, ANA, CBC, CPK, SPEP; and renal, hepatic, and thyroid function tests.

Pts rapidly improve on prednisone, 10–20 mg qd, but may require treatment over months to years.

Caused by death of cellular elements of bone, believed to be due to impairment in blood supply. Frequent associations include glucocorticoid treatment, connective tissue disease, trauma, sickle cell disease, embolization, alcohol use. Commonly involved sites include femoral and humeral heads, femoral condyles, proximal tibia. Hip disease is bilateral in >50% of cases. Clinical presentation is usually the abrupt onset of articular pain. Early changes are not visible on plain radiograph and are best seen by MRI, later stages demonstrate bone collapse (“crescent sign”), flattening of articular surface with joint space loss.

Limited weight-bearing of unclear benefit; NSAIDs for Sx. Surgical procedures to enhance blood flow may be considered in early-stage disease but are of controversial efficacy; joint replacement may be necessary in late-stage disease for pain unresponsive to other measures.

BURSITIS   Inflammation of the thin-walled bursal sac surrounding tendons and muscles over bony prominences. The subacromial and greater trochanteric bursae are most commonly involved.

Prevention of aggravating conditions, rest, NSAIDs, and local glucocorticoid injections.

TENDINITIS   May involve virtually any tendon but frequently affects tendons of the rotator cuff around shoulder, especially the supraspinatus. Pain is dull and aching but becomes acute and sharp when tendon is squeezed below acromion.

NSAIDs, glucocorticoid injection, and physical therapy may be beneficial. The rotator cuff tendons or biceps tendon may rupture acutely, frequently requiring surgical repair.

CALCIFIC TENDINITIS   Results from deposition of calcium salts in tendon, usually supraspinatus. The resulting pain may be sudden and severe.
ADHESIVE CAPSULITIS   (“Frozen Shoulder”) Results from conditions that enforce prolonged immobility of shoulder joint. Shoulder is painful and tender to palpation, and both active and passive range of motion is restricted.

Spontaneous improvement may occur; NSAIDs, local injections of glucocorticoids, and physical therapy may be helpful.


For a more detailed discussion, see Schur PH: Psoriatic Arthritis and Arthritis Associated with Gastrointestinal Diseases, Chap. 324, p. 2003; and Gilliland BC: Relapsing Polychondritis and Other Arthritides, Chap. 325, p. 2005, in HPIM-15.


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