Crohn's Arthritis & Rheumatologists

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2004
Total Posts : 422
   Posted 6/20/2008 3:58 PM (GMT -7)   
For those of you whose GI's say your arthritis is labeled as "Crohn's Arthritis" AND you have a Rheumatologist...
My ankles swell so bad before a flare is coming on that I cannot walk or drive. I'm usually on crutches for about 2 weeks.  As I've slowing been coming out of a 4 month flare this year, my feet have been continually swollen most days.  Some days they just really hurt.  Other days they are so swollen it's difficult to walk/drive although I can still technically do both.  When I told my GI about this 2 weeks ago, he just simply said, "yeah, that's definitely Crohn's Arthritis" but didn't offer any suggestions about what to do when they swell like that.
I asked if I should see a Rheumy but he said NO because he (my GI) knew it was Crohn's Arthritis...however, if my swollen feet became a chronic thing, he'd probably refer me to a Rheumy.
So for over a week now, my feet have been really swollen.  Luckily is hasn't been SO bad that I couldn't walk but it certainly limited me WANTING to walk from the aching and just the swolleness...makes it hard to "roll the foot.
So I called my GI and he's referring me to a Rheumy.  Although, of COURSE, now my feet aren't as swollen as the day I called my GI!  It's like taking your car to the auto body shop because it's been making a thumping noise but then when you get there, it doesn't make the noise!  I imagine with my luck by the time I get an appt with a Rheumy, my feet will be fine!

I'm curious to know what all of your Rheumatologists have said about your joint inflammation that is coming from the Crohn's Disease.  What do they do for you?  Do the give you meds to help stop the swelling?  Take Xrays of the "inflamed" area?  I'm just wondering if I should actually bother seeing a Rhuemy since it's obvious the swelling ankles are due to my Crohn's which is a Gastro thing.

Of course, my GI's nurse put in my brain one time that swollen ankles could indicate a blood clot so I've always got that in the back of my mind now...




Diagnosed in October, 2004 at age 33.
Current Rx's: Colazal (generic), Nexium (generic), Ferrous Sulfate, One-A-Day multivitamin, Culturelle Probiotic, Omega-3 Fish Oil, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Calcium-Magnesium-Zinc, Cranberry pills
Secondary conditions: mouth ulcers, joint pain, swelling ankles, extreme fatigue
Previous/occasional Rx's: 20mg Prednisone taper, Flagyl, Levaquin
No surgeries to date

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 2113
   Posted 6/20/2008 4:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Hmm. its a gastro thing? Actually it's an immune thing that primarily attacks your gastrointenstinal system but also some of your joints. In my mind that means a rhuemy is in charge the GI treats the GI symptoms but, many people won't agree.
What your rhuemy will probably do is suggest an immune modulator maybe enbril or mtx or .... You probably can't take NSAIDS which they would likely give you if you did not have Chron's. I would suggest an elastic type ankle brace to provide compresion-they help to decrease the inflamation. I get them at CVS or target the brand is wellpoint or wellchoice I can't remember which-I find the white ones made by ACE don't provide enough compression. And these are thin enough and light enough in color that I can wear them with real shoes and they are not very noticable.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 497
   Posted 6/20/2008 4:23 PM (GMT -7)   
I saw a Rheumy before I saw my second GI (this was because my eyes had gotten really bad and even though my internist believed Crohn's all along, which the second GI said, she still had me see the Rheumy) and he put me on NSAIDS even though I told him they suspected Crohn's Disease.  Needless to say, I went back to my Internist and she was not too happy he put me on that.
Anyhow, he did say that there is an arthritis that goes with Crohn's and since at that point in time, I did not have the "official" diagnosis from a GI, I guess that is why he thought NSAIDS would be ok.  He didn't tell me what to do if you have Crohn's AND the arthritis, so I am not sure.  I am on Methotrexate now, hoping it will help with my eye inflammation and maybe the arthritis as well.
Anyhow, maybe now that I "officially" have Crohn's he might find some other kind of treatment. 
Best of luck to you and keep us posted!  I am curious to see what a Rheumy does do to help one with both Crohn's and the arthritis.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 511
   Posted 6/20/2008 6:14 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm in the same boat. My ankles don't swell, but my joints get very sore and painful and its hard for me walk. It hits my knees and ankles,
and if left long enough starts my elbows, hands, fingers, etc... In my case, which this was just proved this past wednesday on my scope,
when my colon is inflammed, it causes my joint pain. So, I strongly feel that I don't need a Rheumy. I need my colon taken care of and then
the rest will go away. Its almost like my inflammed colon is poising the rest of the system because its bad.
I know everyone here says you need a Rheumy, but I don't. I know I have Arthritis from the CD. The only time my joints flare is
when my CD flares. So fix my CD and the rest will subside. My GI keeps telling me that he can't treat my joint problem, he can only
treat my CD. I totally understand this. And I told him, just fix my CD and the joint issue will go away. He's doing the same thing
for me that the Rheumy would do for me, so why do I need to see a million doctors. I think my GI finally understand me when
he did my scope Wed.
Living with Crohn's Disease since Jan./2000 but had a few years prior
I'm a true Crohnie with IBS too
Meds I have tried:  Just about everything 
Meds currently on:  Prednisone 30mg tapering
                           Methotrexate injection 12wks
                           Folic Acid
No Surgeries

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 6/21/2008 10:15 AM (GMT -7)   
I have alot of osteoarthritis. Just saw my Rheumy this week and she wants me to start on something like Enbrel or Humira for the pain. She said they would help with the inflammatory arthritis Crohns can cause.
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 32 years.  Currently on Asacol, Prilosec 60 mg, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain and Calcium.  Resections in 2002 and 2005.  Recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and doing tests to see if I have Inflammatory Arthritis or AS.

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 6/24/2008 9:08 AM (GMT -7)   
I have just recently change my exercise regimine to include some light running...I immediately noticed that my knees were sore, but I figured that was normal from the change up...but after two weeks of running I figured this would go away, but instead got my ankles are sore to the touch and the sides of my knees feel bruised, but there are no visible bruises. I can no longer run, or walk properly..walking up or down stairs is a big NO...I am wondering if this is Crohns related or something new? Does anyone have any knowledge of this....

map lady
Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 154
   Posted 6/24/2008 9:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Melbatoast, my knees are having the same problem.  It is mostly my right knee, but my left knee is starting to get bad too.  I also feel like my knees are bruised on the sides of my kneecaps, but there is nothing visibly showing.  I am also having trouble walking, bending my knee, or standing if I completely straighten my leg.  It has been this way for months :(
I'd like to know more about Rheumatologists too, because I know the stupid internal medicine doctor won't do anything besides load me up with so much NSAID's that I get an ulcer (he has done that before) which will have the added joy this time of making my intestines bleed too.
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