Different type of arthritis can cause a painful swelling of your fingers and toes. Due to the fact that of the method it makes your digits look, this symptom is in some cases called “sausage fingers.” The medical name for it is “dactylitis.”
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) also sometimes causes sausage-like swelling of the fingers. So does a group of other diseases referred to as spondyloarthritis (SpA), that includes PsA.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) hardly ever leads to this condition, however can imitate its symptoms. Although dactylitis and RA symptoms may look comparable, they’re not the same.
Dactylitis generally takes place asymmetrically, in one finger or toe at a time. RA normally impacts a number of joints at the same time, and appears in the same area on both sides of the body. (For example, the knuckles of both hands).
What Is Dactylitis?
According to the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, “any inflammatory process involving the fingers or toes” can be considered dactylitis. Depending upon the type of condition you have, various tissues may be associated with various types of swelling.
In SpA, “sausage-like” digits are common. In addition to PsA, these illness include ankylosing spondylitis, enteropathic arthritis, reactive arthritis, juvenile SpA, and undifferentiated SpA. RA might often have this sign also. Nevertheless, RA is a disease that is indicated mainly by swollen joints.
Sausage-like symptoms are a typical feature in PsA and SpA, they might also occur in individuals with RA.
Often it can be challenging to discriminate between RA and PsA because the symptoms both involve joint pain, inflammation, and swelling.
According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH), the resemblance of symptoms is because of the fact that the changes to your joints follow a similar process in both of these conditions.
What’s the Difference?
When it pertains to sausage-like digits, there are some unique differences in between RA and PsA that can help you inform the conditions apart. According to ASSH, RA frequently happens in both hands, while PsA often affects simply one hand.
The swelling patterns can also be various. RA typically includes swelling of the large finger joint, called the MPC joint, or wrist swelling. PsA patients more often have swelling at a joint called the DIP, which is at completion of their fingers. Middle finger joints (PIP) can likewise be impacted in PsA.
Not Everyone Gets It
While some people who have RA might experience symptoms of dactylitis, it isn’t a symptom that numerous RA patients will get. The Mayo Clinic does not list this symptom as an essential sign of RA, however it does for PsA.
In the journal Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism, scientists tried to find sausage-like digits in all patients at the Arthritis Center of Northeast Ohio over a 10-year period.
They found that the 96 patients with RA who went to the center during that period did disappoint signs of dactylitis. Researchers concluded that when dactylitis existed, they could dismiss RA as a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and Treating Arthritis
Existing Rheumatology Reports (CRR) keeps in mind that it can be difficult for medical professionals to detect dactylitis properly. This is true even for PsA, for which this symptom is a “hallmark feature”.
Furthermore, there have not been enough research studies on treatment of dactylitis to determine what can help control the swelling.
The Current Rheumatology Reports research states that infliximab is the one medication that has actually been revealed to assist with this symptom in scientific trials. Nevertheless, the trials specified to PsA victims and not RA patients.
When it concerns assisting with the basic joint pain and swelling caused by RA, which may include symptoms of sausage-like digits, there are some steps you can take.
Try making some lifestyle changes that might make a difference, along with any medicines that your doctor has actually prescribed. For instance, routine workout can help reinforce the muscles that surround your joints. Water aerobics and swimming are advised too. You may also try using heat or cold to swollen areas to reduce pain and reduce inflammation.
No matter which type of arthritis you have, your joints may be swollen, red, warm, and stiff.
While joint swelling in the fingers and toes is a typical symptom of RA, the “sausage-like” symptoms and appearance may– or might not– be present.
If you think you may have dactylitis, speak with your doctor. Your doctor can help verify a diagnosis based upon your swelling patterns and other symptoms you may be experiencing.