Dactylitis:  The symptom is quite painful, but the word itself sounds great.

It always makes me think of dinosaurs.  I enviously picture the pterodactyl – winged-finger dinosaur – escaping the earth to soar above it all.  Then I gaze at my own fingers and wish they were winged instead of inflamed, so that I, too, might fly. 

Daktylos is the Greek word for finger, and itis is our ever-present inflammation.  The medical term dactylitis refers to both fingers and toes, inflamed to look like little sausages.  Whenever I read “this condition can be painful,” I think the author deserves an award for gross understatement.

It turns out that this symptom is not unique to rheumatoid arthritis.  In fact, it’s generally not listed for RA at all (one typical list is here).  RA symptom lists include inflammation of the synovium, but not the entire digit.  Go figure.  That makes me think that either the descriptions are lacking, or a lot of people are walking around with the wrong diagnosis.

Taking a little time off.  Have a great weekend!