Reactive Arthritis – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

By | August 3, 2015

Reactive arthritis, also known as Reiter’s syndrome causes joint pain. Here the infection from other part of the body affects your joints causing inflammation. Often, urinary tract or genitals are infected which would later affect the knee joint or ankles. In some cases it can affect your eyes and urethra. Reactive arthritis is not that serious and the symptoms would fade within a week. Pain killers and antibiotics are effective in treating the symptoms.

Reactive Arthritis Symptoms :

The signs of reactive arthritis would start abruptly and often the symptoms would go within few days. The symptoms of joint pain would develop from one to three weeks after infection. Reactive arthritis would cause symptoms like stiffness of joints in ankles, feet, and knees and on your heels and buttocks. In some people it can infect your eyes causing eye inflammation. It may cause urinary infection showing symptoms like difficulty in passing urine with burning pain. The fingers and toes can become swollen due to infection. Low back pain is common symptoms of reactive arthritis.

Reactive Arthritis

Who Are At Risk?

Anyone can get reactive arthritis, but the risk is more if you are in the age group of 20-40 years. Women are more prone to have arthritis of any type than men. People who have family history of arthritis are at high risk of developing this problem.

Causes :

Exact cause of reactive arthritis is not known but it is believed to be caused by the presence of genetic factor HLA B27. Reactive arthritis can develop after infections from Chlamydia or other sexually transmitted diseases. Bacterial infection from Shigella, Salmonella and Yerisnia can cause reactive arthritis. People are prone to get reactive arthritis after episode of intestinal infection by bacteria. Any infection in the body like urinary infection or genital infection makes one prone to develop reactive arthritis.

Reactive Arthritis

Tests :

Your doctor would complete the physical exam and look for swelling of joints and tenderness. He would ask you to move your joints in specific directions to check if it is paining. He may ask for imaging tests like X-rays of the affected joints, blood test and joint fluid test.

Treatment :

Antibiotics are prescribed for reactive arthritis caused by bacterial infection. NSAID drugs like Indocin are given to get relief from pain and inflammation. Corticosteroid injection is given on specific joints to get quick relief. Rheumatoid arthritis drugs like Sulfasalazine or Trexall is given to reduce muscle stiffness. Doing physical exercises can help in relaxation of joint muscles and reduce stiffness.

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