Does Chron's Disease Cause Arthritis?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

What is the relationship of Crohn's disease, specifically with the onset of arthritis?

Doctor's response

The arthritis of Crohn's disease usually is considered to be of two types--an arthritis that affects the spine, called ankylosing spondylitis, and an arthritis that affects other large joints, such as the knees.

Usually the arthritis (either type) begins after the intestinal manifestations of the Crohn's disease. In a small percent of cases, however, it begins before the Crohn's disease.

Once ankylosing spondylitis begins, it progresses no matter what the activity of the Crohn's disease and can result in a fused, immobile spine. The arthritis that affects other large joints is frequently active when the Crohn's disease is active; however, unlike ankylosing spondylitis, permanent deformity of the joints is uncommon. It is because of this tendency toward progression of the arthritis and potential joint damage that medications should be used as part of the treatment program.

Quick GuideCrohn's Disease Causes, Symptoms, Diet

Crohn's Disease Causes, Symptoms, Diet

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Last Editorial Review: 1/11/2018

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