Reactive Arthritis – Symptoms, Tests

Reactive arthritis is a type of arthritis which develops in response to viral or bacterial infection in other parts of the body. Sometimes, the inflammation is accompanied with a rash or red eyes.  An aberrant reaction is given by the immune system to the infection in the urinary or gastrointestinal infection. The joints, skin and the eyes are also attacked. Swelling and hurting is noticed in the joints due to the immune attack.

Active infection in the joints is involved in the reactive arthritis. However, infection of swollen joints is not involved in this type of arthritis. There is a reaction given by the body to the infection in the form of arthritis.

There are many symptoms of reactive arthritis. These symptoms include swelling and pain in joints especially in ankles and knees. The infection is followed by a joint inflammation.  The infection can be anything. It can be a viral illness with a sore throat, discharge from penis or a genital tract or gastrointestinal one. There is an inflammation of tendons around the joints. This results in swelling and pain behind the ankle. Sometimes, one can also experience a low backache.

The people of age groups 20 to 50 years are generally affected by reactive arthritis. If one is having a HLA-B27 gene, there are higher chances of developing reactive arthritis.

Certain lab tests have to be done for diagnosing the condition. This will be based on the clinical findings and history. The doctors may sometimes order an ESR for checking the presence of inflammation. Other tests may include a throat swab, a stool test etc. X-rays are also ordered by the doctor for checking joint damages.

The condition of reactive arthritis is very short lived. It can last up to 6 months. However, in some cases it may last for more than 6 months as well.