Reactive arthritis - ever heard of it?

My husband ran across this article on awhile back and thought it might be of interest to me. He was right! I'd never heard of reactive arthritis before. Although the condition kept professional golfer James Nitties off the links for awhile, he was able to get the condition under control and is back at it again. Read on to find out more!

What's a little arthritis at the age of 22? Not enough to stop Nitties
by Helen Ross

LA QUINTA, Calif. -- For three weeks in a Dallas hospital, James Nitties didn't know whether he would ever walk again, much less play golf.

Nitties was 22 at the time and had come to Texas in the summer of 2005 to visit friends. Three days into the trip, though, the young Aussie's right hip seized up and landed him in the ER where nurses gave him morphine to quell the pain. "It felt like someone stuck a screwdriver in there and was turning it," Nitties recalled.
The pain traveled to his knee, which swelled up like a soccer ball, and then to his foot. Nitties felt like a pincushion as doctors tried to determine what was wrong. Finally, a rheumatologist was called in and made the correct diagnosis -- he had reactive arthritis, a chronic condition that is characterized by a buildup of fluid in the joints. He'll always have it, but the arthritis can be controlled by medication.
Once he was discharged from the hospital, Nitties spent another month in the United States recovering. Walking was so painful, he left the door to his hotel room ajar so he didn't have to open it when room service was delivered. He was on crutches when he returned to Australia.
"I had my mate dressing me," Nitties said, shaking his head. "For a 22-year-old, it was hard. I don't want to dwell on it and make it like an excuse, but it put me out for a good year."

For those golfers who are reading along, feel free to check out the rest of the article here!
And for those who want to know more about reactive arthritis, read on:
The condition typically develops in response to an infection in another part of your body. Coming into contact with bacteria and developing an infection can trigger reactive arthritis. Though inflammation of your joints (arthritis) is a defining feature of reactive arthritis, this condition can also be associated with inflammation in parts of your body including your eyes, skin and the tube that carries urine from your bladder (urethra).

For most people, signs and symptoms of reactive arthritis come and go, eventually disappearing within 12 months. Treatments for reactive arthritis involve therapies to manage your symptoms and to eliminate any underlying infection.
Reactive arthritis is among a group of disorders known as seronegative spondyloarthropathies that can cause inflammation in the joints of the spine, legs and arms and in other parts of the body.
Treatment may include: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Corticosteroids, Antibiotics, and/or Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers as well as physical therapy.


Anonymous said…
My docs and I are in the process of trying to figure out if this is the extent of my joint pain or if its something beyond that. My symptoms mirror early RA, but my labs are all normal. Its a wait and see approach. I responded very well to prednisone, but that is something I can't be on long term. Very frustrating situation to be in.
Sara Gorman said…
Hope you're able to pinpoint a diagnosis soon! Best of luck and keep me posted.

And that prednisone is a pesky little pill, isn't it? It works on so many of us, but the long term effects are such that you can't take it forever. What a bummer!

Take care and thanks for sharing.
Anonymous said…
I had similar symptoms except that mine first manifested in a 105 degree temperature for 10 days, then the reactive arthritis. I have had it now for 23 years. I have been on every drug you can imagine. Finally 5 years ago I started on Enbrel and it has been a god send. I was better overnight. My arthritis was severe and I have had my knees drained 20 times, but now I can live a relatively normal lifestyle.
Sara Gorman said…
And that's the goal, right? :)

Thanks for checking back in. Hope to hear from you again.
Anonymous said…
I also came down with servere fever after a uti. it lasteabout a week along with very painful inflamation in feet ankles knees elbows and wrists. this pain has lasted me 6 years now. i was 25 when i first became sick with this. im on dissability from this and mental trauma it
has caused. ihave not taken any synthetic drugs to deal with pain or inflammation . which i regret although i have tried every diet and supplement that didnt help much. im chrinically ill with reactive arthritis and i hate this feeling of my feet and ankles always on fire and feeling my joints melting away. there mustbe a cure for this disease
Anonymous said…
im trying colloidal silver to try and heal any infection and stop this 6 years inflammation
Anonymous said…
Hey I am 29 male, have had reactive arthritis for over almost 2 years I think maybe 5 years because it was progressing. it was neck stiffness every 3 months or so and the pain was not too bad at the start until someone squeezed my neck. I went to a physio which made it worse and the pain jumped from the cervical spine to my lower back.

Then the pain and stiffness made myself feel 100 years old. So I was unemployed watering plants in my backyard because I couldn't do much else. even watering a garden was agony and I was a very stressed about my unknown problem.

Was very severe that I have not been able to sit at all for 1 year but now I can sit longer. Im in far less pain now from Celebrex.I have pain nearly everywhere but it is less intense now. So I started playing golf, light skipping and lifting light weights. I also lost excessive weight, muscle twitching and the stabbing pains were all a part of the roller coaster. I couldn't walk sometimes (sacroiliac joints were inflamed but not damaged yet which is good. I went 6 months undiagnosed

I have played golf for 3 months and it is honestly giving me less pain with the medications. I hope soon I can be cured by staying more positive. This reactive arthritis is bad ass and I hope anyone who has reactive arthritis or for that matter any illness finds a cure it probably wouldn't have been so bad if I got earlier treatment. take care

cheers p.s if you have RA don't drink alcohol ;)

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