View Full Version : Osteo-arthritis and Lupus?

06-14-2008, 04:58 AM
Maybe this is a stupid question, but is it quite normal to have Osteo-arthritis with Lupus. I know a lot of people have Rheumatoid Arthritis with the Lupus, but what about Osteo? Can anyone answer this for me? Just wondering.


06-14-2008, 11:12 AM
Hi Kathy;

There are no dumb questions!

Hopefully Saysusie will chime in with some research, all I can give you is my own anecdotal thoughts. I truly believe that most of us end up with some osteoarthritis once we hit about 40 (though for some it is earlier!) - the goal is to try to keep moving enough to keep it in the background. I know I've got a bit in my knees, and possibly in my back. But I'm lucky in that it isn't severe.

If your joints are hurting badly, you may wish to talk to your doctor about it.

06-14-2008, 11:35 AM
Rhuematoid arthritis is not like any other type of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, as it is an autoimmune disease (like lupus, sjorgrens, MS, scerloderma, etc.) so, because many autoimmune diseases overlap - alot o fpeople have lupus and RA together. Osteoarthritis, degenerative arthritis, etc. are musculo-skeletal diseases. They are two seperate types of diseases. As you know, RA is caused by ones own immune system attacking its joints and cartilage - causing permanent damage. osteo is caused by a number of factors - age, medication, hormones, etc. The two are not connected with regards to disease however, steroids can cause severe osteoarthritis after long term, or high dose use. This is probably why anyone with an AI disease may be more disposed to osteoarthritis.
I have it in my back and hips and my orthopedic doc attributes it to the high stress doses of steroids I was given when I was sick (pregnant). I actually fractured my hip doing nothing when the baby was only 9 months old. I turned quickly and POP - stress fracture on the neck of the femur. Orthopedic doc said directly related to steroids.
I hope that helps - have a good day! Im off to my womans meeting
Love Lauri

06-14-2008, 11:57 AM
This does help out a lot. I do believe that the steriods did play a hand in the development of this arthritis with me, so when I have problems I try my darndest not to go on any steroids and if I have to to be put on the lowest dosage possible. I am glad that it is not directly related to the Lupus. I have enough problems with the SLE as it is. Thank you two wonderful ladies for answering my post. God Bless


sick n tired
06-14-2008, 09:06 PM
Hey Kathy,

I have both...at least the doc thinks that I have osteo in my hands and elbow...


06-15-2008, 10:32 AM
Hi Kathy;
There are many causes of joint dysfunction, but there are three illnesses that account for most joint problems -- osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus!
Osteoarthritis is commonly, and erroneously, called "wear-and-tear" arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more joints. Cartilage is a protein substance that serves as a "cushion" between the bones of the joints. Most cases of osteoarthritis have no known cause and are referred to as primary osteoarthritis. When the cause of the osteoarthritis is known, the condition is referred to as secondary osteoarthritis. Primary osteoarthritis is mostly related to aging.
Now, the way that Osteoarthritis can be linked to lupus is due to inflammation. As you know, Lupus is a disease that causes inflammation in our joints, tissues and organs. inflammation of the cartilage can cause joint pain and swelling. Eventually, the cartilage begins to degenerate by flaking or forming tiny crevasses. In advanced cases, there is a total loss of the cartilage cushion between the bones of the joints. Loss of cartilage cushion causes friction between the bones, leading to pain and limitation of joint mobility. Inflammation of the cartilage can also stimulate new bone outgrowths (spurs) to form around the joints.
Osteoarthritis is different from Lupus Arthritis. Lupus Arthritis is very common in people with lupus. There may be pain, with or without swelling. Stiffness and pain may be particularly evident in the morning. Lupus Arthritis may be a problem for only a few days or weeks, or may be a permanent feature of the disease. Fortunately, Lupus Arthritis usually is not crippling and is non-erosive.
Arthralgia is joint pain, arthritis is joint inflammation. Joint pain is the commonest symptom in SLE. True swelling of the joints (arthritis) is only seen in about 40% of lupus sufferers, with the commonest joints involved being the fingers, wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, & shoulders. The spine & hips aren't usually involved in lupus, if hip pain does occur, it is more likely to be due to a condition called aseptic necrosis (death of tissue without infection).
Lupus arthritis doesn't affect the spine or neck. Lupus arthritis joint pain comes & goes, & there is often pain & stiffness in the morning. Arthritis in lupus doesn't cause destruction to the joint, as rheumatoid arthritis does. In people with lupus arthritis, x-rays are usually normal. It is normally treated with NSAIDs, & antimalarials (Plaquenil). It is important to rest joints when inflamed & during flares.
Lauri has given you information on Rheumatoid Arthritis (often times, Lupus patients are misdiagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis) so you understand the difference there. I hope that this information has helped you also. Let me know if you need anything further :P

Peace and Blessings

06-15-2008, 10:47 AM
I learn so much from you. When I first started getting sick, my joints hurt, but were not swollen. The first two rheumies I saw wouldnt even consider lupus becase, they said, my joints were not swollen. Both said if it were lupus, the joints would be red and swollen. I had previously been dxd with osteo in my back, hips and shoulders, so they said that possibly osteo, but not lupus.
When I did start to show swelling, is when they took a closer look at possible lupus. My swelling is in the places you said - fingers, elbows knees, and ankles. Though I always thought it looked more like swelling from fluid (puffy-like). But docs said joints were def. swollen. But Ive also had alot of swelling in my hips (hurt more than anything else for me). So do you think thats not from autoimmune disease?

06-16-2008, 04:10 AM
Hi Saysusie,

This information really does help a lot. I have both the Lupus arthritis and the Osteo. I mean when I have the pain in my knees, wrists and hands, the joints never swell up. They just hurt. I have gone to my Rheumatologist for this problem and he gives me a shot in the joint that is affected and that clears it right up pretty fast. He tells me that this is common with Lupus. The shots hurt really bad, but they work. It is not cortisone, the doctor told me that it is a new drug that he calls the cousin to Cortisone. It works though. He gives me muscle relaxers for my back. I guess this means that I have both. My doctor told me that I do not have Osteo in my knees, but just in my back and he is attributing it to the scoliosis and age. I guess I just have both of thems. I am doing ok at the moment. God Bless


06-16-2008, 04:06 PM
80 to 90 percent of lupus patients complain of pain in the joints, making joint pain the most common complaint from lupus patients. Yet arthritis is only seen in 50 percent of those cases. Even less common is Rheumatoid arthritis, which is found in only 10 percent of lupus patients.
Lupus patients are more prone to swelling in the thin membrane that surrounds joints, called the synovium. The most common symptoms include stiffness and aching in the wrists, feet, and hands. Though, as the disease progresses, pain can spread to the shoulders, knees, and ankles. The pain seems to be worse in the morning and lessens throughout the day.
While 50% of SLE patients have swelling in the wrists, there are some other disorders that can develop from chronic inflammation like ulnar drift, tendon inflammation, trigger fingers, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Sometimes inflammation will occur in the costochondral margin (where the sternum and ribs meet) causing costochondritis, or Tietze’s Syndrome. Tietze’s Syndrome often makes patients feel like they are having a heart attack.
Lupus related inflammation in the ankles can also be caused by proteins that have leaked from the kidneys and settled in the ankles. The swelling can also be caused by fluid retention from poor circulation. While many patients complain of back pain, it is usually not due to inflammation in the back but rather inflammation of the hip and sacroiliac joint.
Other pain in joint areas can be caused by muscle inflammation. This condition is common to about 15 percent of SLE patients. Muscle pain usually appears between the elbow and neck or between the knee and hip.
Yet a more serious reason for lupus related joint pain comes from avascular necrosis. Avascular necrosis occurs when the prescribed steroids a lupus patient takes during treatment causes fat clots that prevent oxygen from getting to the bone. The most common joints affected by avascular necrosis are the shoulder, knee, and hip. The disorder occurs in about 5 to 10 percent of SLE patients.
So, there may be several reason for the pain and swelling in your hip. You should discuss this and these possibilities with your doctor. Best of Luck!

Peace and Blessings

06-16-2008, 04:09 PM
Thank You :lol:
I received a few cortisone shots in my joints. My doctor never mentioned another drug. Perhaps that is because, as you said, it is a newer drug. I will ask her about at my next visit.
I also take muscle relaxers, mostly for my FM pain! I am glad that you are doing OK now, I hope you continue to feel better!

Peace and Blessings

06-16-2008, 04:27 PM
osteo arthritis is what started me on this path. My family doctor is confused by me. She said I do not follow typical osteo arthritis development.

One day I was fine....then next day I was a mess. Usually with osteo there is a bit of swelling now and then and a bit of pain now and then, gradually getting worse. But for me, I woke up one morning and couldn't walk or put my shoes on. Moving was pure hell.

I'm alot better than I was. It took me 1 1/2 to get here.

06-17-2008, 04:11 PM
My docs also think I have osteoarthritis. I've had it (secondary, I guess) in my neck for some time, caused by a car accident about 20 years ago that put me out of work for a year. That doesn't give me as much pain as it once did, but when it 'flares up' it just kills me....makes it hard to do anything at all. I've most recently developed some pretty bad pain in the joints of my hands/fingers. Stiff in the mornings, but it really gets bad if I am using my hands extensively. Sometimes I can't straighten my fingers. Knuckles sometimes swell and get red (not always, though) and I get some 'bruising' on my fingers, between joints. Odd....

This is getting worse all the time. Typing for any length of time is getting painful, and I need to do that in order to work. (I also have difficulty carrying my laptop case..sheesh!) Sometimes I just read posts these days, and don't do much posting myself, 'cause it hurts some days to type. :(


06-19-2008, 09:19 AM
I'm sorry to hear that it is painful for you to post. I'm glad for those times that you are able to post and I love reading your responses. It is good to know, however, that when you are not posting, you are still here with us>
Take care of yourself :lol:

Peace and Blessings

06-19-2008, 04:34 PM
Thanks, Saysusie, for the kind words. I'm some better today - no idea why for sure. Pain still there, but not so intense. I'm able to post a bit! I feel like I've been in and out for so long. It's warm and dry here right now, and I think maybe my joints like that (as long as I stay out of the sun.)

I hope you are well! I loved your description, by the way, of your after-swim attire: hoodie, pants, sunglasses. Sounds like a great 'disguise!'


06-20-2008, 07:27 AM
I too have osteo arthritis ...most painfully in my knee. I could not bend it or kneel on it etc ...until I developed peripheral neuropathy ...then one of my many numb spots just happened to be over my knee ...lo and behold I no longer have pain there ...I have nothing there as far as feeling but hey that's OK. I can kneel and bend and forget there ever was any kind of arthritis. Hahaha ...take that lupus!

06-20-2008, 10:12 AM
I've used this disguise at the pool for so many years (we do not have a pool at our home, I use the pool at our country club), that everyone knows that the person back in the corner, in the shade, with the hood, pants, glasses and sometimes a lightweight blanket, is me. So, they stop by to say "hello" and often times, will compliment me on my unusual, but entertaining garb :lol: One woman told me that she waits for me to see what I will come up with next (the colors and patterns don't always match :? ), but it is always distinctly ME.
I'm glad that you are feeling better today, whatever the reason, and I hope that today is a good day for you.

Peace and Blessings

06-20-2008, 02:09 PM
FWIW, I have SLE, R/A and OA. Don't know if they are connected. My docs just can't decide. Each one has a distinctly different opinion and a different path to good health.

Without boring you with specifics, some of the 'fixes' for one malady make the other diseases worse. And vice-versa. What's a girl to do? I pray, do a lot of research then dive into the deep end.

So far, I've had both hips replaced due to OA/AVN (avascular necrosis) and am in the process of getting my bones strong enough to have my left knee replaced sometime soon. Once again, is this the horse or the cart?

Best of luck to you. Here's hoping your story has a happy ending!