Symptoms may occur in the joints, eyes, urinary tract, and genitals.
Symptoms may be:
- In the joints:
- Swelling, pain, and redness
- Heel pain
- Back pain and stiffness
- In the eyes:
- Blurred vision
- In the urinary tract or genitals:
- Burning feeling when passing urine
- Discharge from the penis
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. There is no specific test to check for reactive arthritis.
Tests may be done to look for problems and infection. They may include:
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Stool tests
- Removal of fluid from the affected joints
X-rays may be done to look at bones and joints.
Most people get better within 12 months. Others develop mild, long term arthritis. Some may have symptoms that keep coming back.
The goal of treatment is to ease symptoms. Options may be:
- Rest, and support devices—to ease strain on the joints
- Physical therapy—to improve movement and joint function
- Medicines, such as:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Corticosteroid by injection, or cream
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDS)
- TNF inhibitors
- Antibiotics—to treat chlamydia
- Eye drops
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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Arthritis Foundation http://www.arthritis.org
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases https://www.niams.nih.gov
Arthritis Society https://www.arthritis.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada https://www.canada.ca
García-Kutzbach A, Chacón-Súchite J, et al. Reactive arthritis: update 2018. Clin Rheumatol. 2018;37(4):869-874.
Questions and answers about reactive arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/reactive-arthritis. Accessed April 1, 2021.
Reactive arthritis. American College of Rheumatology website. Available at: https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Reactive-Arthritis. Accessed April 1, 2021.
Reactive arthritis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/reactive-arthritis . Accessed April 1, 2021.