What is it?

Palindromic rheumatism is a form of inflammatory arthritis. It causes attacks or flare-ups of joint pain and inflammation that come and go. The joints look and feel normal between attacks, and the attacks don’t cause any lasting damage to the joints.

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Signs & symptoms

People with palindromic rheumatism usually have no symptoms between attacks. This is different from other types of inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, as people with these conditions will have joint problems most of the time.
During an attack of palindromic rheumatism, the joints involved – and the tendons and area around them – will feel painful and stiff, and may look swollen. They might also feel tender and hot, and the skin over your joints may look red.


Palindromic rheumatism is rare, so the GP may not have seen many cases. It can sometimes be confused with conditions like gout and rheumatoid arthritis.
To confirm the diagnosis and to ensure that treatment is started as soon as possible, the GP should refer you to a rheumatologist, who is a consultant with specialist knowledge of these types of conditions.
* Blood tests- Blood tests for erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) can be used for a diagnosis, as these show levels of inflammation in your body. Other blood tests can check for antibodies – such as rheumatoid factor, anti-CCP antibodies anti-nuclear antibodies – which can help to diagnose palindromic rheumatism.
* X-rays- Palindromic rheumatism doesn’t usually cause any damage your joints. But a doctor may still ask you to have x-rays of your affected joints, so they can rule out other conditions.


Once the diagnosis of palindromic rheumatism has been confirmed, your care is likely to be shared between your GP and a rheumatologist.
You might also see a specialist nurse in your rheumatology department. They will all monitor you to make sure you’re not developing another condition that would need different treatment.
The main treatments for palindromic rheumatism are drugs to treat the pain, drugs to reduce inflammation, and drugs to treat the condition itself. People respond to treatments in different ways, so it’s important to work with your doctors to find the best treatment for you.
* Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
* Steroid injections
* Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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