Fast Five Quiz: Ankylosing Spondylitis Signs and Symptoms

Herbert S. Diamond, MD; Marina Magrey, MD


March 16, 2023

Figure 1. Ankylosing spondylitis, radiograph

Inflammatory back pain is the most common symptom and the first manifestation of AS in approximately 75% of patients. The pain is insidious in onset, associated with morning stiffness, improves upon activity, and is worse with sitting.

Approximately 50% of patients with AS have neck pain as an early symptom.

Enthesitis in AS presents as pain or stiffness with tenderness to palpation where the tendons insert on the bones.

Dactylitis is present in approximately 6% of patients with AS. It is characterized by diffuse swelling of a whole finger or toe ("sausage digit"), which may be painful. It usually occurs in one or only a few digits at a time; if all digits of an extremity are involved, a different etiology should be considered.

Learn more about the clinical presentation of AS.


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