Both peripheral and axial arthritis may be associated with the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. The arthritis can occur after or before the onset of intestinal symptoms. Peripheral arthritis is episodic and asymmetric; it most frequently affects knee and ankle. Attacks usually subside within several weeks and characteristically resolve completely without residual joint damage. Enthesitis and dactylitis, can occur with manifestations of “sausage digit,” Achilles tendinitis, and plantar fasciitis. Axial involvement can manifest as spondylitis and/or sacroiliitis (often symmetric). Laboratory findings are nonspecific; RF absent; HLA-B27 is positive in 70% with IBD and axial disease but <15% with IBD and peripheral arthritis; radiographs of peripheral joints usually normal; axial involvement is often indistinguishable from AS.

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