Tuberculosis arthritis is a form of arthritis that usually involves only one joint at a certain period although sometimes it may involve more than one joint. This usually spreads from a primary focal infection coming from the lungs or the lymph nodes. In most cases, there is a previous history of injury to the joint that occurred a few weeks earlier. The spine, ankle, elbow, hip, knee, shoulder and wrist are the joints most commonly affected with tuberculosis arthritis. This disease however is no longer as widespread as it was some generations ago. This disease used to be commonly caused by a type of germ coming from a bovine and transmitted by raw milk. The advent of milk pasteurization and tuberculin testing of dairy cows has minimized the occurrence of this type of arthritis.
During the early stages of tuberculosis arthritis, the joint involved usually emits less pain. The only noticeable symptom is swelling of the affected area without inflammation. One of the bones near the joint is usually the starting point of the infection. If the infection is left unchecked and untreated, the joint will likely be invaded and followed by an attack in the articular cartilage and finally permanent damage to the joint. The good news is, early treatment of the active tuberculosis can arrest the development of the disease at its initial stage before damage to the articular cartilage sets in. This could also mean restoration of the joint's normal activity. However, as a rule, tuberculosis arthritis continues until there is destruction of the joint tissues. Healing only occurs when there is already a stiffened permanent joint, where the joints finally bond together. The infection usually terminates itself after the damage is done and with no fatal outcome.
Tuberculosis arthritis comes with systemic symptoms similar to any forms of tuberculosis. These include a daily rise in body temperature, anemia and loss of weight, strength and appetite. This also exhibits local symptoms like pain upon pressure or motion and thickening or swelling of the joint tissues. The joint muscles may experience spasm causing limited motions. During the course of the infection, abscesses may develop. Pus is produced by these abscesses and can drain through an opening in the skin, abdominal cavity, chest cavity or the spinal canal. Usually a surgical intervention to drain the abscess is recommended.
A person suffering from tuberculosis arthritis can do the following:
1. He should seek professional and medical care since self treatment is practically useless in this type of arthritis. However, proper treatment by a competent medical professional may result positively especially if the treatment is initiated during the early stage of the disease.
2. Orthopedic devices can help put the affected joint at rest which is essential in reducing strain on the joint.
3. Tuberculosis arthritis can benefit from sunbathing especially done at high altitudes. In some early cases, complete healing can be attained through this regimen.
4. Many cases attain recovery and improvement through surgical intervention with the addition of some chemical remedies.
5. As with any other forms of tuberculosis, tuberculosis arthritis requires the same general program of diet given to patients suffering from other forms of tuberculosis.