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Arthritis and Rheumatism

Joint pain without inflamation

10/09/2007

Question:

I have suffered with joint pain in my hands, toes and one knee for two years. I do not have any inflamation, just intolerable pain at times. I say at times because it does actually ease off after weeks or months but always comes back. I`ve been screened for rheumatoid and also had x-rays but nothing. My score for rheumatoid came back as 48 but I don`t understand if this is normal. Is this a normal score?

Answer:

There are a number of reasons for joint pain. Sometimes it is due to one of the diseases that causes arthritis. There is no single blood test that can be used to diagnose all of them. Most of the time, diagnosing arthritis requires evaluating the history, the physical examination, laboratory tests and X-rays.

As far as rheumatoid factor goes - the most commonly used test to evaluate the possibility of rheumatoid arthritis - normal values depend on what method the laboratory uses to measure it. In one commonly used version, under 60 is normal. But about 30% of people who have rheumatoid arthritis have a normal test.

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Response by:

Irving  Kushner, MD Irving Kushner, MD
Professor Emeritus of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University