All forms of arthritis manifest themselves through the typical signs of inflammation: The affected joints are reddened, overheated, swollen and painful. This usually also results in a restriction of mobility. Especially in rheumatoid arthritis, the pain and immobility are usually strongest in the morning and after long periods of rest, and improve with movement.
This so-called morning stiffness also occurs in osteoarthritis, but it is more pronounced in rheumatoid arthritis and can last up to several hours. The pattern of joint involvement varies with the different forms of arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis usually starts at the small finger and toe joints of both halves of the body and only later spreads to larger joints such as the shoulder joint. This is why it is also called chronic polyarthritis.
In contrast, reactive arthritis occurs preferentially in the larger joints of the lower half of the body (hip, knee, ankle), whereas gout usually affects only one joint at first – particularly often the base joint of the big toe. While ankylosing spondylitis is primarily an inflammatory disease of the spinal joints and the symptoms therefore occur primarily in the back region, psoriatic arthritis can manifest itself through different patterns of attack. In addition, the individual subclasses of arthritis can have different accompanying symptoms, which are often characteristic of the underlying diseases that have already been listed in the case of causes: infectious arthritis: fever, occasionally rash rheumatoid arthritis: rheumatic nodules (small, non-painful, shifting nodes in the subcutaneous fatty tissue) psoriasis arthritis: scaly skin rash, itching, nail changes systemic lupus erythematosus butterfly-shaped skin rash on the face Sjögren’s syndrome: dry eyes, dryness of mucous membranes Scleroderma: hardening and thinning of the skin Dermatomyositis: rash, muscle weakness, muscle pain Bekhterev’s disease: inflammation of the tendon attachments, inflammation of the eyes (uveitis), pronounced forward curvature of the spine Chronic inflammatory bowel disease Diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fever Sarcoidosis: fever, cough, shortness of breath Vascular inflammation: Fever, fatigue, night sweats, muscle pain Reactive arthritis: urethritis, conjunctivitis
- Infectious arthritis: fever, occasionally skin rash
- Rheumatoid arthritis: rheumatic nodules (small, non-painful, shifting nodes in the subcutaneous fatty tissue)
- Psoriatic arthritis: scaly skin rash, itching, nail changes
- Systemic lupus erythematosus: butterfly-shaped skin rash on the face
- Sjögren’s syndrome: dry eyes, dryness of the mucous membranes
- Scleroderma: hardening and thinning of the skin
- Dermatomyositis: skin rash, muscle weakness, muscle pain
- Bechterew’s disease: inflammation of the tendon attachments, inflammation of the eyes (uveitis), pronounced forward curvature of the spine
- Chronic inflammatory bowel disease: diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fever
- Sarcoidosis: fever, cough, difficulty breathing
- Vascular inflammation: fever, fatigue, night sweats, muscle aches
- Reactive arthritis: urethritis, conjunctivitis
- Gout: gout tophi (nodular thickening near the joint), inflammation of the kidneys