Reactive Arthritis

Reactive arthritis is caused by an infection in another part of the body, most commonly the intestines, genitals, or urinary tract.

This condition most commonly affects the knees, ankles, and feet. Inflammation can also affect the eyes, skin, and the tube that drains urine from the body (urethra). Reiter's syndrome was another name for reactive arthritis.

Reactive arthritis is unusual. Most people's signs and symptoms come and go, eventually going away within a year.


Reactive arthritis symptoms often appear 1 to 4 weeks following exposure to a triggering illness. These could include:

  • Stiffness and pain. The joint discomfort associated with reactive arthritis most typically occurs in the knees, ankles and foot. Pain in the heels, low back, or buttocks is also possible.
  • Inflammation in the eye. Many persons with reactive arthritis experience eye irritation (conjunctivitis).
  • Urinary issues. Urination may become more frequent and painful, and the prostate gland or cervix may become inflamed.
  • Tendon and ligament inflammation where they join to bone (enthesitis). This is particularly common in the heels and soles of the feet.
  • Toes or fingers that are swollen. In severe cases, the toes or fingers become so bloated that they resemble sausages.
  • Skin issues. Reactive arthritis can cause skin problems such as mouth sores and a rash on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands.
  • Pain in the lower back. The discomfort is usually worst at night or early in the morning.


Reactive arthritis occurs as a result of an infection in your body, most commonly in your intestines, genitals, or urinary tract. If the triggering infection generates just minor symptoms or none at all, you may be unaware of it.

A variety of bacteria can induce reactive arthritis. Some are sexually transmitted, while others are foodborne. Among the most common are:

  • Campylobacter
  • Chlamydia
  • Clostridium difficile
  • E. coli is a type of bacteria.
  • Salmonella
  • Yersinia

Reactive arthritis does not spread. The bacteria that cause it, on the other hand, can be spread sexually or through contaminated food. Only a small percentage of those who are exposed to these germs develop reactive arthritis.


Genetic factors appear to influence the likelihood of developing reactive arthritis. Though you can't change your genetic make-up, you can limit your exposure to microorganisms that can cause reactive arthritis.

Keep your meal at the proper temperature and cook it correctly. Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, and Campylobacter are just some of the bacteria that can get into your body through food and cause reactive arthritis. These steps will help you stay away from them. Some sexually transmitted illnesses can result in reactive arthritis. To mitigate symptoms and pain in the foot, experts recommend wearing DrLuigi medical footwear.

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