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Arthritis and Rheumatism

Arthritis and muscles

04/24/2007

Question:

What types of arthritis affect the muscles, making them feel stiff, burning and heavy? My calves felt this way for several years. Then it spread to my thighs, and shoulders. I have troble lifting my legs to put on slacks, in the mornings, even if I am sitting down, because of the stiffness and heaviness in my leg muscles. Recently my shoulder muscles are feeling stiff and heavy. My leg and shoulder muscles do not hurt too much, except then I use them. Then they feel sore.

Answer:

There are many diseases or syndromes where joint and muscle pain is part of the symptom complex. Based on a combination of history and physical exam, your physician may be able to narrow the search into certain categories, such as joint disease/arthritis with radiating pain, mechanical muscle problems with concomitant arthritis, or inflammatory muscle or systemic inflammatory diseases. An example of each in respective order: osteoarthritis of the hips causing radiation of pain into the thighs towards the knees; rotator cuff tendonitis causing pain in the upper arms; polymyalgia rheumatica producing proximal girdle pain.

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Response by:

Raymond  Hong, MD, MBA, FACR Raymond Hong, MD, MBA, FACR
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University