heres what ive discerned about crohn's and arthritis:
1. CD sufferers often get "peripheral arthritis" associated with their CD flares. This can occur in many joints simultaneously, and on either side of the body, but is not usually entirely symmetric. It does not usually affect the spine/axial skeleton. It is synovitis (not tendonitis/enthesitis). This kind of arthritis does little lasting damage, and is usually active only while intestinal disease is active.
2. Spondyloarthropathy associated with CD. Can present with peripheral and axial symptoms (SI joint, hips, spine). Synovitis as well as enthesitis (tendon inflammation). This kind of arthritis may take on a life of its own regardless of what the CD does. For some people this kind of arthritis developes into full blown ankylosing spondylitis.
3. Ankylosisng apondylitis. A spondyloarthropathy as well. May be part of a spectrum of disease with crohn's. Some people with AS have intestinal inflammation, some people with CD/UC develope AS. Again, the problem here is with tendons (enthesitis), and axial skeleton involvement is prominent. hips and peripheral sites affected at times as well.
My story is this:
CD sx for 18 motnhs. 3 flares. the last started 2 weeks ago. for the first time, i developed bad night sweats and enthesitis EVERYWHERE. fingers wrists, elbows, feet, knees, then progressing to axial skeleton and costochondral joints. worse with activity, not better. better on prepednisone for sure. Left SI joint hurts a bit at times.
im super freaked out. saw rheum guy last week, he just said hed never seen diffuse enthesitis like it before (usually hits 1-2 joints at a time), and that it was likely IBD related spondyloarthropathy. . . no suggestion about what to do next.