terminology in rheumatology

Last reviewed 01/2018

Below is a list of descriptive terms that are often applied in rheumatology.

Term Meaning

  • arthralgia joint pain, normally in the absence of swelling
  • arthropathy a general term describing joint disease of any type
  • monoarticular only one joint involved
  • polyarticular many joints involved
  • oligo/pauci 2,3 or 4 joints involved -articular
  • small joints usually refers to the joints of the hands and feet
  • large joints usually applies to the major limb joints ie hip, shoulder, knee, elbow
  • seropositive where rheumatoid factor is present
  • seronegative where rheumatoid factor is absent
  • symmetrical where joints are involved similarly on right and left sides of the body