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Alternative NamesGranulomatous arthritis
Definition Return to top
Tuberculous arthritis is an infection of the joints due to tuberculosis.
See also: Spondylitis
Causes Return to top
Approximately 2% of people who have tuberculosis will develop this form of arthritis. The joints most often involved are the:
Most cases involve just one joint.
Tuberculosis involving the spine is often referred to as Pott's disease. The fictional Hunchback of Notre Dame had a humpback that is thought to have been caused by tuberculosis.
Symptoms Return to top
Note: The condition usually starts slowly and may involve only one joint.
Exams and Tests Return to top
A physical examination shows swelling and irritation (inflammation) of the joint.
Treatment Return to top
You will take antibiotics to destroy the bacteria that are causing the tuberculosis infection. These medications are often given for several months (6 - 18 months).
Taking painkillers and applying heat or cold to the joints may relieve pain. Surgery may be needed, especially to drain spinal abscesses or to stabilize the spine. Surgery is rarely needed for infections at other sites.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
This form of arthritis can be very destructive to the tissues. Controlling the infection should prevent more joints from becoming involved. However, joint destruction may take place before the infection is controlled.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of this disorder, or of tuberculosis.
Prevention Return to top
Controlling the spread of tuberculosis infection can prevent tuberculous arthritis.
Patients who have a positive PPD test (but not active tuberculosis) may decrease their risk of tuberculous arthritis by properly taking medicines to prevent tuberculosis. To effectively treat tuberculosis, it is crucial that patients take their medications exactly as prescribed.
References Return to top
Alparsian L, Yu JS, Weissman BN. Imaging. In: Harris ED, Budd RC, Genovese MC, Firestein GS, Sargent JS, Sledge CB, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2005: chap 51.
McCune WJ, Golbus J. Monarticular arthritis. In: Harris ED, Budd RC, Genovese MC, Firestein GS, Sargent JS, Sledge CB, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2005: chap 34.Update Date: 9/17/2008 Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Jatin M. Vyas, PhD, MD, Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.