Sometimes the only symptom that persons with undifferentiated spondyloarthropathies have is pain. Other symptoms that persons with undifferentiated spondyloarthropathies experience include:
- Long-standing, on-going low back pain that comes on gradually (commonly radiating from the buttocks) before the age of 45
- General stiffness of the body that is worse on waking and gets better with exercise
- A history of swelling in the feet and hands, especially heel pain.
- A general lack of abdominal symptoms, although up to a third of patients have short episodes of diarrhea or have more than two bowel movements a day.
- Inflammation of the intestines that can only be shown by doing an ileocolonscopy. The symptoms may resemble inflammatory bowel disease or a bacterial inflection. With continued monitoring, there appears to be a strong relationship between intestinal and joint inflammation.
- Joint pain that affects both small and large joints, mainly in the legs and feet. However, this joint pain may affect one side of the body more than it does the other.
Inflammation of the eye
- A bumpy red rash that often occurs with a fever and joint pains that come and go
- Symptoms affecting the urinary tract and genitals
Causes and Risk Factors
As in reactive arthritis, many people with undifferentiated spondyloarthropathies have the HLA-B27 genetic marker, which suggests there is an inherited element of this disease. Studies of families show a pattern of mild intestinal inflammation or Crohn's disease.
Some findings suggest that intestinal inflammation may trigger the other rheumatic symptoms such as joint pain in this condition. A virus, bacteria or germ may also cause it.