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Infectious Arthritis

Also called: Septic Arthritis 

Most kinds of arthritis cause pain and swelling in your joints. Joints are places where two bones meet, such as your elbow or knee. Infectious arthritis is an infection in the joint. The infection comes from a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection that spreads from another part of the body. Besides the usual arthritis symptoms, it can cause chills and fever.

One type of infectious arthritis is reactive arthritis. It is inflammation of a joint in reaction to an infection somewhere else in your body. The joint is usually the knee, ankle, or toe. The infection that causes reactive arthritis is often in the bladder, urethra (urine tube), or for women, in the vagina. Sexually transmitted or food-borne bacteria can cause reactive arthritis.

To diagnose infectious arthritis, your health care provider may do tests of your blood, urine, and joint fluid. Treatment includes medicines and sometimes surgery.