Many types of infection can result in joint pain that ranges from mild to extremely painful. One of the most widely recognized types is infectious arthritis, which can become debilitating if it remains untreated. However, it is by no means the only infection to cause major joint problems. There are many that should be both known and understood.
Joints can become inflamed or even ruined by certain types of infection. Some of the most common include, but are not limited to bacterial infection, gonorrhea, joint injury, joint replacement, rare genetic disorders, streptococcus bacteria and common viruses.
Certain types of bacterial infection like staphylococcus (staph) often results in severe joint pain. This is partly due to the additional fluid build up between joints which ultimately causes swelling and inflammation. Gonorrhea that is not treated immediately or that remains untreated can become DGI, more formally known as disseminated gonococcal infection. The end result includes a myriad of difficult symptoms including joint pain. Joint injuries caused by accidents or sports related injury can damage the tissue, tendons and delicate lubricating sacks around joint areas. Any one of these problems may result in very painful joints. Joint replacement in areas of the body, such as the knees or hips, can cause several different types of infection. Each one of them has one thing in common--painful joints. A rare genetic bone condition known as kniest dyplasia may also result in joint pain. In the case of this disease, joints are unusually enlarged and cannot operate properly, if at all. Because they are misformed, any use of the joint area can result in mild to extreme pain. Complications from strep, such as rheumatic fever, can also result in joint pain. The strep bacteria tends to travel to areas of the body that are the weakest, which in many cases can include delicate joints. Many viruses, from the common flu to a more serious parvovirus, can cause joint pain along with a long list of other serious symptoms.
Symptoms other than joint paint are common with gonorrhea. These include pain in the abdomen and pelvic area, difficulty urinating, vaginal or penal discharge that is thick and yellow, anal discharge and itching. Symptoms related to joint injuries include pain that can’t be resolved with ice, heat or over-the-counter pain medications. They also include stiffness, swelling, tenderness and even visible deformities. Symptoms of problems with joint replacement include an inability to operate the joint, rash, redness around the joint area, stiffness, and swelling and tenderness. Symptoms of kniest dyplasia include abnormal looking joints, badly formed heads, barrel chest, club foot, curved spine, joints that will not straighten, and shortened limbs or neck. Symptoms of strep include high fever (over 100 degrees F), inability to swallow normally, red and raw throat, swollen lymph nodes, unexplained sore throat (one not in conjunction with a cold or virus), and unusual spots found in the throat area. Complications of strep could include throat abscess, kidney infection, otitis, rheumatic fever and tonsillopharynegeal cellulitus. Viral symptoms vary greatly from virus to virus but most include fever.
Many believe that severe joint pain won’t happen to them for various reasons. These include an overall good physical health, the fact that they take certain medications to stave off infection, because they see their doctors regularly, and because they avoid straining muscles, tendons and joints. Because joint pain can result from any number of common infections, most individuals can realistically expect to experience the condition at least once in their lifetime.
Joint pain can happen in individuals of any age, from babies to young children to adults and, of course, the elderly. That is because every age group is prone to some type of infection that could result in crippling joint pain.