Crystalline Arthritis is a term used to describe arthritic disorders characterized by small crystals that are present in joints and soft tissues.

These crystals can trigger episodes of severe inflammation, and can lead to destructive arthritis or premature degenerative arthritis over time.

The most common causes of crystalline arthritis are gout, and CPPD arthropathy (generally termed “pseudogout”).

Gout is caused by chronically elevated levels of uric acid.  The uric acid eventually forms crystals which can deposit in many different joints but most commonly in the lower extremities and other distal joints.  Often times, severe attacks of arthritis occur which can be quite debilitating.  If the crystals are present in high numbers they can lead to accumulations of crystals called tophi which can deform or destroy joints.  Gout is usually treated with medications to lower uric acid levels and to treat episodes of inflammation, and often times dietary and lifestyle changes can assist in the recovery.  This condition is very treatable with many options available.

CPPD arthropathy (calcium phyrophosphate dihydrate deposition disorder) often presents as “pseudogout” with severe attacks of inflammation and demonstration of a CPPD crystal in the joint and/or soft tissues.  CPPD arthropathy is unique in that it can be associated with metabolic disorders that rheumatologists are able to rule in or out with clinical examination, and x-ray / laboratory studies.  This condition can be associated with premature osteoarthritis in unusual locations.  The crystals themselves cannot be removed, but the crystals do not form large masses and the disease itself is usually quite manageable after diagnosis.

Mar 16, 2018

The Potential Link between Seasonal Allergies and Rheumatoid Arthritis


Spring is in the air! Unfortunately, it’s full of allergens too. For those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), this can be a problem. Experts are beginning to notice a potential connection between seasonal allergies and rheumatoid arthritis. As we are in the thick of pollen season here in Southeastern North Carolina, this theory is […]

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Mar 2, 2018

Reconnect: Taking the Pain and Stress out of Travel


Believe it or not, spring break is right around the corner. With warmer weather comes travel plans, and unfortunately the stress and anxieties that accompany traveling. These worries and stresses can increase joint pain and ultimately add to an arthritis patient’s discomfort. Our world is too beautiful to leave it unexplored, so whether it’s a […]

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Feb 14, 2018

How to Choose a Rheumatologist


If you have aches and pains in your joints and bones it’s time to consider consulting a rheumatologist. Choosing a rheumatologist may end up being one of the most important health decisions you will make. You will rely on their expertise and knowledge and you will work closely with them to identify any issues and […]

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