What is the definition of Fungal Arthritis?

Fungal arthritis is swelling and irritation (inflammation) of a joint by a fungal infection. It is also called mycotic arthritis.

What are the alternative names for Fungal Arthritis?

Mycotic arthritis; Infectious arthritis - fungal

What are the causes for Fungal Arthritis?

Fungal arthritis is a rare condition. It can be caused by any of the invasive types of fungi. The infection can result from an infection in another organ, such as the lungs and travel to a joint through the bloodstream. A joint can also become infected during a surgery. People with weakened immune systems who travel or live in areas where the fungi are common, are more susceptible to most causes of fungal arthritis.

Conditions that can cause fungal arthritis include:

  • Blastomycosis
  • Candidiasis
  • Coccidioidomycosis
  • Cryptococcosis
  • Histoplasmosis
  • Sporotrichosis
  • Exserohilum rostratum (from injection with contaminated steroid vials)

What are the symptoms for Fungal Arthritis?

The fungus can affect bone or joint tissue. One or more joints can be affected, most often the large, weight-bearing joints, such as the knees.

Symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Joint swelling
  • Swelling of the ankles, feet, and legs

What are the current treatments for Fungal Arthritis?

The goal of treatment is to cure the infection using antifungal drugs. Commonly used antifungal drugs are amphotericin B or drugs in the azole family (fluconazole, ketoconazole, or itraconazole).

Chronic or advanced bone or joint infection may require surgery (debridement) to remove the infected tissue.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Fungal Arthritis?

How well you do depends on the underlying cause of the infection and your overall health. A weakened immune system, cancer, and certain medicines can affect the outcome.

What are the possible complications for Fungal Arthritis?

Joint damage may occur if the infection is not treated right away.

When should I contact a medical professional for Fungal Arthritis?

Call for an appointment with your provider if you have any symptoms of fungal arthritis.

How do I prevent Fungal Arthritis?

Thorough treatment of fungal infections elsewhere in the body may help prevent fungal arthritis.

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REFERENCES

Ohl CA. Infectious arthritis of native joints. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 103.

Ruderman EM, Flaherty JP. Fungal infections of bones and joints. In: Firestein GS, Budd RC, Gabriel SE, McInnes IB, O'Dell JR, eds. Kelley and Firestein's Textbook of Rheumatology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 112.

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