Persistent pain and swelling after prednisone treatment

Posted by janicebunge @janicebunge, May 23, 2019

In December 2018 I had a relapse of polymyalgia rheumatica followed by an 8 week protocol with prednisone. While taking the prednisone my left ankle swelled and my right knee became painful. X-rays of both show no abnormalities but the pain in both areas has persisted since the end of December. I have been off prednisone since the end of February. I am not taking any pain medication other than an 81 mg aspirin for other reasons. I have a compression ankle brace which moves the swelling up into my calf when wearing for the day and the swelling in my ankle subsides over night, but the pain in both areas remain. It makes walking difficult and particularly managing stairs. Any suggestions. I am hoping for a referral to an arthritis specialist but the wait is up to 6 months. Thanks for any suggestions you can make.

Hi @janicebunge, welcome to Connect. Your story sounds pretty similar to mine. When I was first diagnosed with PMR my right ankle and leg were swollen badly. They found that I had gout in the foot and they also drained some fluid from my knee. After my second round with PMR my right foot and leg were swollen again but would get better during the night as I was sleeping. When I woke it was almost normal again and then it would swell up during the day. My doctor thought it was a form of edema and I was able to get an appointment with a vascular specialist at Mayo Clinic. Long story short, he ran a bunch of tests including a Lymphoscintigram and concluded I didn't have any blockages in my lymph system but the fluid just wasn't getting pushed out. I was diagnosed with lymphedema and the therapy/fix is to wear 20 to 30 mg knee high compression socks. I really don't like wearing them but they do help and it does keep the swelling down.

You might want to ask your doctor if it's possible that you might have a form of edema. Mayo Clinic has some information that might be helpful here.

Lymphedema
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lymphedema/symptoms-causes/syc-20374682

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Thank you for your reply. I have an appointment with my Doctor on Tuesday and I will discuss your suggestions with her.

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