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Fungal arthritis

Mycotic arthritis; Infectious arthritis - fungal

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

Causes

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:

Symptoms

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:

Exams and Tests

Your health care provider will examine you.

Tests that may be ordered include:

Treatment

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.

Outlook (Prognosis)

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.

Possible Complications

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

When to Contact a Medical Professional

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

Prevention

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

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.

  • The structure of a joint

    The structure of a joint - illustration

    Joints, particularly hinge joints like the elbow and the knee, are complex structures made up of bone, muscles, synovium, cartilage, and ligaments that are designed to bear weight and move the body through space. The knee consists of the femur (thigh bone) above, and the tibia (shin bone) and fibula below. The kneecap (patella) glides through a shallow groove on the front part of the lower thigh bone. Ligaments and tendons connect the three bones of the knee, which are contained in the joint capsule (synovium) and are cushioned by cartilage.

    The structure of a joint

    illustration

  • Shoulder joint inflammation

    Shoulder joint inflammation - illustration

    An inflammation of the shoulder joint can cause pain and restricted joint movement.

    Shoulder joint inflammation

    illustration

    • The structure of a joint

      The structure of a joint - illustration

      Joints, particularly hinge joints like the elbow and the knee, are complex structures made up of bone, muscles, synovium, cartilage, and ligaments that are designed to bear weight and move the body through space. The knee consists of the femur (thigh bone) above, and the tibia (shin bone) and fibula below. The kneecap (patella) glides through a shallow groove on the front part of the lower thigh bone. Ligaments and tendons connect the three bones of the knee, which are contained in the joint capsule (synovium) and are cushioned by cartilage.

      The structure of a joint

      illustration

    • Shoulder joint inflammation

      Shoulder joint inflammation - illustration

      An inflammation of the shoulder joint can cause pain and restricted joint movement.

      Shoulder joint inflammation

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

    Tests for Fungal arthritis

     
     

    Review Date: 11/9/2019

    Reviewed By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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