Viewer Question:Is there a specific type of arthritis that is common among Crohn's patients? Specific to the feet, how do you tell the difference between psoriatic and osteoarthritis?
Doctor's Response:Patients with Crohn's disease can develop arthritis of two basic types: arthritis of the spine (spondylitis) and arthritis of joints away from the spine (peripheral arthritis). Spondylitis occurs in approximately 20% of patients with Crohn's disease and the symptoms do not tend to coincide temporally with the activity of the bowel disease. Peripheral arthritis also occurs in around 20% of patients with Crohn's disease, and the flare-ups of joint inflammation tend to coincide with the bowel inflammation.
Psoriatic arthritis is a very inflammatory form of arthritis associated with psoriasis. In the toes, psoriatic arthritis classically features reddish, warm, tender, and painful toes that have soft tissue swelling in the shape of a sausage.
Both Crohn's disease and psoriatic arthritis can be associated with inflammation of the tissue under the foot (plantar fasciitis).
Thank you for your question.
Last Editorial Review: 11/4/2004