Tuberculous Arthritis – Symptoms, Tests, Drugs

The bacteria named Mycobacterium tuberculosis cause Tuberculous arthritis. There are many few people who develop this kind of arthritis. The joints that are often involved are:

  • Hips
  • Ankles
  • Spine
  • Wrists
  • Knees

In many cases only one joint is involved. The TB in which spine is involved is also known as Pott’s disease. More than half of TB related bone infections are made up by it.

The symptoms include:

  • Excessive sweating at night
  • Decreased movements in joints
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Tender joints, joint swelling
  • Muscle spasms
  • Weakness, numbness and tingling in muscles
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss

The condition starts very slowly and usually only one joint is involved in it. A physical examination must be used for showing the inflammation and swelling of the joints.  Other tests include:

  • Biopsy of the joint for detecting the bacteria
  • Aspiration of fluid in joints
  • CT scan of spine
  • Chest x-ray
  • Joint x-rays
  • Tuberculin skin test

The main aim of treatment is the curing of infection with drugs that help in fighting the TB bacteria. A combination of several drugs is involved in active TB. There are many combinations of drugs. The drugs continue till the lab tests show the best medicines. Drugs which are most commonly used include:

  • Rifamin
  • Isoniazid
  • Ethambutol
  • Pyrazinamide

One needs to take various pills during different times of the day. It may be for six months as well. Taking the pills as per suggested by the doctor is very essential. The nurse or doctor is required by law for reporting TB illness to health department.  The pain will surely be relieved if heat or cold is applied to the joints and painkillers are taken. Surgery may also be needed sometimes.