Intermetatarsal Bursitis, a Novel Feature of Juxtaarticular Inflammation in Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Related to Clinical Signs: Results of a Longitudinal Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study

Bastiaan T. van Dijk*, Yousra J. Dakkak, Xanthe M.E. Matthijssen, Ellis Niemantsverdriet, Monique Reijnierse, Annette H.M. van der Helm-van Mil

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Objective: Intermetatarsal bursae in the forefeet possess a synovial lining similar to joints and tendon sheaths. Inflammation of these bursae (intermetatarsal bursitis [IMB]) was recently identified as specific for early rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The present study was undertaken to determine if IMB is indeed an RA feature by assessing the following: 1) the association with other local inflammatory measures (synovitis, tenosynovitis, and osteitis), 2) the association with clinical signs, and 3) whether it responds to disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) therapy similarly to other local inflammatory measures. Methods: One hundred fifty-seven consecutive early RA patients underwent unilateral contrast-enhanced 1.5T forefoot magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at diagnosis. MRIs were evaluated for IMB presence and for synovitis, tenosynovitis, and osteitis in line with the RA MRI Scoring (RAMRIS) system (summed as RAMRIS inflammation). MRIs at 4, 12, and 24 months were evaluated for IMB presence and size in patients who had IMB at baseline and received early DMARD therapy. Logistic regression and generalized estimating equations were used. Anti–citrullinated protein antibody (ACPA) stratification was performed. Results: Sixty-nine percent of RA patients had ≥1 IMB. In multivariable analysis on bursa level, presence of IMB was independently associated with local presence of synovitis and tenosynovitis, with odds ratios (OR) of 1.69 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.12, 2.57) and 2.83 (95% CI 1.80, 4.44), respectively, but not osteitis. On the patient level, IMB presence was most strongly associated with tenosynovitis (OR 2.92 [95% CI 1.62, 5.24]). IMB presence was associated with local joint swelling (OR 2.7 [95% CI 1.3, 5.3]) and tenderness (OR 1.7 [95% CI 1.04, 2.9]) independent of RAMRIS inflammation. During treatment, IMB size decreased between 0 and 12 months. This decrease associated with decrease in RAMRIS inflammation, which was driven by synovitis decrease. Within ACPA-positive and ACPA-negative RA, similar results were obtained. Conclusion: IMB particularly accompanies inflammation of the synovial lining of joints and tendon sheaths, showed a similar treatment response after DMARD initiation, and associates with typical clinical signs. These findings suggest that IMB represents a frequently present novel RA feature of juxtaarticular synovial inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1713-1722
Number of pages10
JournalArthritis Care and Research
Volume74
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Authors. Arthritis Care & Research published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American College of Rheumatology.

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