Fungal Arthritis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Catherine Burt Driver, MD
    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Fungal arthritis facts

  • Fungal arthritis is inflammation of a joint by a fungus microorganism that has invaded the body and is growing in the normally sterile joint.
  • Fungal arthritis can be caused by the spread of fungus through the bloodstream or by directly inserting fungus into a joint.
  • Fungal arthritis in people with normal immune systems is rare.
  • Symptoms of fungal arthritis include pain, heat, swelling, warmth, redness, and loss of range of motion of the affected joint.
  • Fungal arthritis is diagnosed by analyzing affected joint fluid.
  • Fungal arthritis is treated with antibiotics that are directed against the precise fungal microbe that is causing the joint infection.
  • The outlook for fungal arthritis is directly related to how much damage occurs to the cartilage and bone of the joint. Earlier treatment leads to optimal outcomes.

What is fungal arthritis?

Fungal arthritis is inflammation of a joint by a fungus microorganism that has invaded the body and is growing in the normally sterile joint. Fungal infection of a joint is a serious condition that can lead to permanent damage to the joint with loss of function.

What causes fungal arthritis?

Fungal arthritis is usually caused by the fungus traveling through the bloodstream to reside in the joint. This manner of infection through the blood is referred to as hematogenous spread.

Alternatively, if medication that is contaminated by fungus is directly injected into the joint, fungal arthritis can result. This manner of infection by directly injecting the fungus into the joint is referred to as exogenous inoculation. Rarely, fungal infection can result from a contaminated prosthesis used in joint replacement surgery.

Fungal organisms that can cause fungal arthritis include Candida, Aspergillus, and Exserohilum species.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/8/2015

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