What are the symptoms of palindromic rheumatism?
Attacks of palindromic rheumatism usually start in one or two joints, which quickly become painful, stiff and swollen. Other symptoms can include:
- hot and tender joints
- the skin over the joint looking red
- inflamed, painful and swollen tendons and areas around the joint (the periarticular area)
- feeling generally unwell
- mild fever
- nodules under the skin near affected joints.
Typically the joints involved at the start improve after a short period but the attack moves from joint to joint, building up to its worst point. Finally the attack disappears and the joints and tendons return to normal. No matter how often they occur, these attacks don't cause damage to the joint.
Attacks of palindromic rheumatism come and go over time, but the pattern – how often they happen, how long they last and what joints are involved – is different for everyone. Some people get less than one attack a year but others get attacks more than once a week. Some people's attacks last only a few hours but for others they may last several days. You may notice that your attacks have a repeating pattern.
People with palindromic rheumatism usually have no symptoms in between attacks. This sets palindromic rheumatism apart from other forms of inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis. People with these conditions have joint problems most of the time, although the level of the problem may vary.