Rheumatoid Arthritis Nodules?

Question

I’ve had symmetric pain, swelling, and stiffness in knuckles, PIPs, wrists, ankles,elbows, knees, and feet beginning the end of May. Since my first rheumatology appt. in July in which my RF and anti-CCP were negative, I’ve developed painful muscle aches and fatigue and the pain has spread to shoulders and hips with twinges off and on in my collarbone and jaws. The skin on my elbows hurts at times and I have a small, flesh-colored, lentil-sized bump on one elbow (developed in Aug. that gets firmer and larger then kinda shrinks but hasn’t gone completely away.) Could this be a rheumatoid nodule and should I tell me Dr. at my appt. in November if it does go away?

Answer

We know that sometimes the diagnosis of a rheumatic disease is difficult.  Symptoms may come and go and blood work can change.  Given your description, it is advisable to stay in touch with your rheumatologist periodically.  Sometimes treatment can still begin without a clear diagnosis.  Tracking your symtoms will be helpful.  Rheumatoid nodules can develop in different places.  The elbow and back of the ankle are common areas for rheumatoid nodules.  If these become large and bothersome, they can be injected with steroids or surgically removed.  You should have your rheumatologist take a look at them at your next appointment. 

Victoria Ruffing, RN

About Victoria Ruffing, RN

Ms. Ruffing has been a member of the Arthritis Center since 2000, currently serving as the Nurse Manager. She is a critical member of our patient care team.