Merck Manual

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Distinguishing Inflammatory versus Noninflammatory Joint Disease by Features

Distinguishing Inflammatory versus Noninflammatory Joint Disease by Features

Feature

Inflammatory

Noninflammatory

Systemic symptoms

Prominent, including fatigue

Unusual

Onset

Insidious in rheumatoid arthritis

Sudden in gout or infection

Gradual

1 joint or a few joints

Morning stiffness

> 1 hour

< 30 minutes

Worst time of day

Morning

As day progresses

Effect of activity on symptoms (joint pain and stiffness)

Lessen with activity

Worse after periods of rest

May also have pain with use

Worsen with activity

Lessen with rest