Fitbit inflammation whole body and now diagnosis of PMR

Hi, I have been an active 55yr runner, doing a marathon in April this year I treated myself to a Fitbit Charge 2 HR. Slowly over 10 weeks? Not sure exactly how long but I developed swollen wrist on worn side, that gradually became sore and stiff then almost overnight my legs and arms at night just became stiff and odd feeling. I took off Fitbit and very slowly it improved until it slowed and left with nighttime stiffness and awful hip and shoulder pain. Diagnosis PMR with esr 47. Put on Pred 15mg x5mg x3 daily. I’ve taken 5 tabs and already huge improvement. I’m just not convinced it’s PMR but whole body inflammation from Fitbit which I can’t prove. Now after reading I’m really concerned about taking these meds. Any thoughts? At 55kg NICE dose is 10mg? Daily. Feeling overwhelmed. Thank you for any advise.

8 Replies

  • I assume you are saying you are on 15mg/day as 3x5mg? That is a normal starting dose for PMR except it is usually taken as 15mg once daily early in the morning - that is felt to have the best effect for the majority of patients. There is no NICE recommended dose for PMR that I know of - the top rheumaotlogy experts in the field say "the lowest effective dose in the range 12.5 to 25mg" and the dose is fairly immaterial because that is jsut a starting dose - then you taper slowly to find the lowest dose that gives the same result as the starting dose.

    I think it is very probably coincidence that it happened so soon after you got your fFtbit - there is absolutely no reason for it to have caused PMR.

    Pred gets a very bad press - and it really is NOT half as bad as it is painted. Have a read of this:

    One of the authors is a top cheese in the PMR/GCA field - and very concerned that people are scared of pred.

  • An interesting read PMRpro. It provides some reasurance that we are not damaging ourselves too much. If I had read this when I started on 15mg I would not have been so worried that I was destroying my body.


  • My guess is you were feeling a bit unfit, got a Fitbit and brought your PMR symptoms into sharp relief. Sorry this happened to you! The Fitbit will be a useful tool as you start to work on your recovery, thankfully this autoimmune condition usually burns itself out eventually. For now you need to get the inflammation under control with the correct dose of Prednisalone. If Pred does not work, it is not PMR. You will have to be patient and pace your activities carefully. Let us know how you're doing. You've got a lot to absorb right now. This forum is a great resource.

  • With my PMR I am very aware of new flare up pain with whatever part of my body is stressed. A Fitbit on a wrist would make my wrist hurt. Your locations sound classic. To not take the Prednisone would leave you vulnerable to horrid pain. Nothing else stops it.

  • Hello Runner55, I found your comments very interesting since I also wear a FitBit charge and have done so before PMR. Both wrists are swollen but the wrist I wear the FitBit is larger. I’ve also wondered if the constant flashing contacts next to my skin does any harm. I was diagnosed with PMR in January 2016 and have believed it was brought on my some facial fillers I had injected.

  • My watch leaves an imprint of itself on my wrist and I can't wait to take it off when I do wear it. There is definitely some oedema going on as well as chubbiness. My Fitbit goes on my waist band. I expect yours is fancier. I was taken aback to receive an email with how many kilometres I had done in a month though. I hadn't realised that I was essentially tagged and yet you can't make them work without registering on the computer. I really hate all this monitoring in modern life. 😡

  • Thank you all for your responses. I will feedback on what happens as I move forward. Today have had the least pain in three months, brilliant. Key areas, right shoulder. Left has never been problem. Piriformis syndrome from long distance running but easing very slowly, Physio working on. Chubby left wrist which only come on since Fitbit still chubby but has never hurt. I am positive about cause and effect in my case but accept completely PMR and therapy work but as a Health professional of 25yrs my concern is that. Yes Pred works reduces inflammation but at3 weeks on body relies on this source and switches down natural production. Hence weaning off to kickstart natural production. So is the problem the condition or the post effects of the drug? Food for thought? I have an open mind but I’m all for looking at environmental, foods above all. Guess this is a work in progress. 😊

  • Weaning down to let the adrenal function return is a doddle compared with getting the PMR under control and weaning down to find the lowest dose that manages the symptoms as well as the starting dose so allowing a decent quality of life until the autoimmune cause of the PMR symptoms burns out and goes into remission, For 75% of patients that is anything from 2 to 6 years - and for half of patients it will be more like 5 years than 2. Having had PMR for 5 years without pred I can tell you that the following 8 years WITH pred have been far preferable.

    There is a new study which you may find interesting:

    There is no cure for PMR, like most autoimmune disorders. It is nice to know that pred at PMR doses isn't half as bad as has been alleged. I too have worked in the field much of my life - taking pred is of relatively little concern to me compared with the years of disability I suffered without it.

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