Reactive arthritis is characterized by joint pain and swelling triggered by infection in other parts of the body. The condition is considered rare. The infection responsible for the condition can develop in any part of the body, but usually in the urinary tract.
Remember that reactive arthritis is not transmissible but the bacteria might be spread through soiled food or via sexual contact. Not all cases involving bacteria can lead to the development of reactive arthritis.
What are the risk factors?
- Individuals between ages 20-40 years
- Genetic factors
The objective of treatment for reactive arthritis is to manage the symptoms and dealing with the underlying infection if present. Medications such as antibiotics are usually given for a bacterial infection.
It is important to note that the type of antibiotic prescribed is based on the causative bacteria. Additionally, physical therapy exercises are recommended to improve joint function, minimize the stiffness, improve the range of motion, increasing flexibility and strengthening of the muscles.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen can be given to alleviate the pain and swelling
- Corticosteroid injections can be administered into the affected joint to reduce the pain and inflammation
- Medications for arthritis to relieve the pain and stiffness
If an individual is at risk for reactive arthritis due to genetic factors, there is not a lot to be done. Nevertheless, there are precautions to minimize exposure to the bacteria responsible for causing reactive arthritis.
This can be avoided by cooking food thoroughly and storing at proper temperatures to prevent foodborne bacteria such as salmonella, shigella and campylobacter.