Fleeting Rheumatism

Mr Nayak complained about knee pain last week. This week it is the ankle which is troubling him more. Before the knee pain started, he remembers it was the elbows. Last month it was the wrist.“Go to the doctor, go to the doctor,” his wife’s nagging also increased with the pain — each time he complained. So now he has stopped complaining about it. It is a part of old age. The silly woman will never understand, how can the doctor help me. They cannot turn the clock back. It is a part of the aging process, he reasons.

However, this condition is not a part of ageing. It is known as fleeting rheumatism. One joint is affected at a time — painful, tender and is flushed. Within a few days it subsides, with or without medicine, and the other joint gets affected. In another one or two weeks the third one will start complaining. Usually the joints affected are the knees, wrists, ankles, elbows and shoulders. When the next one is affected the previous one seems to have recovered.


This is one of the types of rheumatism. But it needs to be differentiated from gout (high uric acid count, a disease involving painful joints), and acute rheumatoid arthritis. (Here mostly the small joints of the hands, wrists and fingers are involved). Again it is necessary to rule out acute gonorrhoeal arthritis.

Serum uric acid, RAF and ESR are the basic blood tests that a doctor will ask for. Again, with these fasting blood sugar should also be done at the earliest. It will save a lot of time, which might be wasted in treatment unnecessarily.

For this the homoeopathic treatment is effective but it should be taken persistently. Though a few drugs are indicated they are quite effective.

Pulsatilla: The patient usually is of a mild, timid nature. It could be more often than not a woman. Joint pains keep on jumping from one joint to the other. Tensive pains, hot swollen joints, with tearing pains, etc. Pains get worse in the evenings and slightly better by walking around and when in the open air. Legs become heavy and weary. Before the period, aggravation is marked.

Lae can: This medicine is famous for its shifting wandering complaints. Rheumatic pain in the extremities and at times involving the back. Pains fluctuate from joint to joint, which are usually bilateral like from one knee to the other knee or one ankle to the other ankle, etc. Also burning of palms and soles.

Kali bichromicum: Pain, swelling, stiffness of the joints, soreness of heels are the prominent symptoms. At times the pain occurs in small spots. Many times the physical pain comes on after the patient is mentally upset; or joint pains come on as a consequence of some gastro intestinal disorder; like acidity, gas, vomiting, etc. Usually hot fomentation relieves the pain a little.

Other useful remedies are Arnica, Phytolacca, Rhus Tox, bryonia, etc.