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Predicting Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk in Adults with Undifferentiated Arthritis - Point-of-Care Guides
ABSTRACT: Acute monoarthritis can be the initial manifestation of many joint disorders. The first step in diagnosis is to verify that the source of pain is the joint, not the surrounding soft tissues. The most common causes of monoarthritis are crystals (i.e., gout and pseudogout), trauma, and infection. A careful history and physical examination are important because diagnostic studies frequently are only supportive. Examination of joint fluid often is essential in making a definitive diagnosis. Leukocyte counts vary widely in septic and sterile synovial fluids and should be interpreted cautiously. If the history and diagnostic studies suggest an infection, aggressive treatment can prevent rapid joint destruction. When an infection is suspected, culture and Gram staining should be performed and antibiotics should be started. Light microscopy may be useful to identify gout crystals, but polarized microscopy is preferred. Blood tests alone never confirm a diagnosis, and radiographic studies are diagnostic only in selected conditions. Referral is indicated when patients have septic arthritis or when the initial evaluation does not determine the etiology.
ABSTRACT: Joint and soft tissue injection of the ankle and foot region is a useful diagnostic and therapeutic tool for the family physician. This article reviews the injection procedure for the plantar fascia, ankle joint, tarsal tunnel, interdigital space, and first metatarsophalangeal joint. Indications for plantar fascia injection include degeneration secondary to repetitive use and traumatic injuries that are unresponsive to conservative treatment. Diagnostic aspiration or therapeutic injection of the ankle or first metatarsophalangeal joints can be performed for management of advanced osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory arthritides such as gout, or synovitis or an arthrosis such as "turf toe." Persistent pain and disability resulting from tarsal tunnel syndrome, an analog of carpal tunnel syndrome of the wrist respond to local injection therapy. A painful interdigital space, such as that occurring in patients with Morton's neuroma, is commonly relieved with corticosteroid injection. The proper technique, choice and quantity of pharmaceuticals, and appropriate follow-up are essential for effective outcomes.
ABSTRACT: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) play a major role in the management of inflammation and pain caused by arthritis. A new class of NSAIDs that selectively inhibit the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme has been developed. The first COX-2 inhibitors, celecoxib and rofecoxib, are said to provide therapeutic benefit with less toxicity than traditional NSAIDs. A third COX-2-selective inhibitor, meloxicam, has recently been introduced. COX-2 inhibitors and traditional NSAIDs do not appear to differ significantly in their effectiveness in alleviating pain or inflammation. They have similar gastrointestinal side effects, including abdominal pain, dyspepsia and diarrhea. However, short-term studies show fewer gastrointestinal ulcers in patients treated with COX-2 inhibitors compared with traditional NSAIDs.