Infectious arthritis

Infectious arthritis refers to joint pain and inflammation triggered by some form of infection. The infection - caused by bacteria, virus or any of several agents - invades the joint through a variety of means. Among them, an infectious arthritis patient may contract the disease through a bout with pneumonia, a traumatic wound or even an insect bite. Rheumatoid arthritis patients are especially susceptible to infectious arthritis.

While any joint in the body is a potential target, the knee seems to be the most common to be affected by infectious arthritis. Less common circumstances affect other joints: a viral infection or insect bite may affect digital joints, while infections caused by intravenous drug use may affect the spine.

Researchers have also identified a specific type of infectious arthritis known as Reiter's disease or reactive arthritis. This form differs from other types of infectious arthritis because it appears to stem from a reaction of the body's immune system to invading bacteria rather than directly from the infection itself. Reiter's may also take longer periods of time - even years - to present with symptoms. By the time it presents the infectious agent that triggered the body's reaction most likely is not present.

Common Treatments:

Physicians seek to treat infectious arthritis quickly and aggressively due to the propensity of infections to destroy important tissue around a joint. Antibiotics are the appropriate treatment for bacterial infections, while anti-viral drugs and therapies are matched with specific viral infections. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin or ibuprofen may help alleviate pain and inflammation while the infection runs its course.

Hospitalization is necessary in some cases to drain fluid, administer antibiotics through IVs, or promote joint rest. Physicians may also prescribe some form of immobility, like splinting, or recommend surgery to remove damaged joint tissue. Once the infection has passed, physical therapy is usually necessary to restore strength and mobility to the affected joint.
      Other Conditions
Ankylosing Spondylitis
Back Pain
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Infectious arthritis
Lyme Disease
Polymyalgia rheumatica
Psoriatic Arthritis
Reactive Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Sjögren's Syndrome