Dr David Collins  MD FRCP

  Consultant Rheumatologist


Tel / Fax: 01285 885146


Inflammatory arthritis develops when your bodies immune system causes inflammation to occur in the lining of the joints, and often involves the adjacent tendons and ligaments causing pain and swelling.


This can occur for no apparent reason and can affect people of any age from infants to the very old.


Rheumatoid Arthritis is the second most common of all arthritis with over 700000 people affected in the UK.  As well as the joints other tissues in the body can be affected including the lungs, heart, kidneys and eyes - fortunately this is rare.


With early aggressive treatment what used to be a progressive and disabling condition has a much better prognosis that 20 years ago, and many people lead a full and normal life despite this condition.


Early diagnosis and specialist management is imperative as often the greatest damage occurs in the first two to three years and the sooner the disease is controlled the better the long term outlook.


Useful information about the condition can be found here:

and specific information about many of the treatments used here:


Ankylosing Spondylitis is an inflammatory condition, predominantly affecting the tendons and ligaments around the spine, presenting with pain and stiffness and over time leading to calcium building up in the affected tissues and loss of movement.

It more commonly affects men that women and typically presents in late teens to mid twenties.

Management is with regular structured exercises often in combination with many of the same medications as used in Rheumatoid Arthritis.


Useful website for more information:


Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that occurs in people with skin psoriasis.  About 20% of patients with skin psoriasis will develop arthritis and the tendons, ligaments and spine may also be involved. In some cases the arthritis may precede the development of skin symptoms and there may only be a family history of the condition.


Treatments are frequently the same as for Rheumatoid Arthritis.


Useful Website:


Reactive Arthritis occurs as a result of an infection that has passed through the body and, for unexplained reasons, sets off a reaction in the bodies immune system that leads to arthritis.

Common precipitating inflections are ear nose and throat, gastrointestinal, urinary and sexually acquired.

In a lot of cases the causative agent is never found.


Fortunatly these conditions frequently self limit over 6 to 12 months.


Gout: Unlike the conditions above Gout is caused by a buildup of crystals of uric acid in the joint which can precipitate episodes of acute severe inflammation in one or two joints or can lead to a gradually progressive damaging arthritis over a period of years.

Lifestyle issues, especially weight and alcohol consumption play a major part in its presentation but also medications, particularly those used in the treatment of heart failure may be involved.

medication is often necessary.


Useful Website:


Pseudogout is similar to gout, but the crystals involved are calcium rather than uric acid.  Unlike gout however there are no obvious lifestyle issues and onset is frequently later in life with women being more frequently affected.