This is a disease awareness website produced by UCB and is intended for a UK and Ireland audience.

Diagnosing Inflammatory Arthritis

The information provided on this web page is intended for general information purposes only. Information concerning any product is not intended to provide or substitute medical advice provided by a doctor or healthcare professional. This web page is not intended to offer medical diagnosis or provide patient-specific treatment advice. Always consult your doctor on matters relating to your health condition and treatments.

GP Appointment

Inflammatory arthritis is a group of conditions characterised by inflammation of the joints and often other tissues. These conditions include axial spondyloarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

It is advisable to seek medical advice if you experience persistent pain, swelling or stiffness in your joints.

Depending on the particular form of inflammatory arthritis, a diagnosis will most likely be based upon your symptoms, a physical examination and the results of x-rays, scans and blood tests.

Seeing your GP

Your GP will ask you about your symptoms as well as carrying out a physical examination, checking your joints for signs of swelling, and to assess how easily they move. If your GP thinks you have a form of inflammatory arthritis, they’ll refer you to a specialist (rheumatologist).

Imaging tests

Different scans may be completed to check for joint inflammation and damage. These scans can help tell the difference between the different types of inflammatory arthritis and can be used to check how your condition is progressing over time.

These may include:

  • X-rays
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Ultrasound scans

Blood tests

Blood tests may be used to find changes in your blood that are caused by inflammation. However, no blood test can prove or rule out a diagnosis of a type of inflammatory arthritis.

Blood tests are used to help diagnose and monitor inflammatory arthritis and include:

  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
  • C-reactive protein (CRP)
  • Full blood count

Genetic testing

A genetic blood test may be carried out to help diagnose axial spondyloarthritis or ankylosing spondylitis, to see if you carry the HLA-B27 gene. However, this test can only contribute towards a diagnosis of axial spondyloarthritis or ankylosing spondylitis - it’s not entirely reliable as not everyone with axial spondyloarthritis or ankylosing spondylitis has the HLA-B27 gene.

Find out more

Non-biologic Treatments for Inflammatory Arthritis

Non-biologic Treatments for Inflammatory Arthritis

Painkillers, steroids and other treatments

Read more

Biologic Treatments for Inflammatory Arthritis

Biologic treatments are a type of treatment for some long-term medical conditions

Read more

The information provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical care. If you have any concerns about your health or medicine, you should consult your healthcare specialist or general practitioner.

If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed in the patient information leaflet. You can also report side effects directly in the UK via the Yellow Card Scheme website: or via the the MHRA Yellow Card App in the Google Play or Apple App Store. In Ireland please report via the HPRA at

You can also report adverse events to UCB at or

Images used are not of real patients.
IE-DA-2300078. September 2023