Causes of Fungal Arthritis

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There are several possible causes of fungal arthritis. Also referred to as mycotic arthritis, this type of arthritis can develop due to any of the fungi types that are invasive. This condition is also very rare. Joint or bone tissue may both be affected by these organisms. One joint may be affected, or two or more. The knees are most often affected, followed by other large, weight-bearing joints.

Blastomycosis

When a fungus known as Blastomyces dermatitidis is breathed in this rare infection may develop. This type of fungus is found in soil and wood. This infection is most often seen in southeastern and central United States, India, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Israel, and Africa. The infection initially infects the lungs and then spreads to other body parts, such as the bones, joints, skin, and other areas.

Candidiasis

When a fungus known as Candida albicans increases in numbers, an infection can develop. In small amounts, this fungus is often found in the mouth, on the skin, in the vagina, and in the digestive tract. Under normal circumstances this fungus is kept in balance, but if the balance is interrupted an infection may develop. Factors they may disrupt the balance include certain antibiotics, diabetes, being pregnant, or being obese.

Coccidioidomycosis

Coccidioides immitis fungus spores are responsible for this infection. This infection is most often see in South and Central America and the southwestern United States' desert regions. This infection results when fungal particles from soil are breathed in. It initially infects the lungs and the acute and chronic types often stay within the lungs. The disseminated type is widespread and may infect the brain, heart, bones, and skin.

Cryptococcosis

The Cryptococcus neoformans fungus is responsible for this type of infection. This fungus also enters the body through being inhaled and it is also typically found in soil. This infection may simply go away without medical intervention, it may stay in the lungs, or it may spread to other areas of the body. It becomes a possible cause of fungal arthritis when it spreads outside the lungs.

Histoplasmosis

The Histoplasma capsulatum fungus is responsible for this infection. This infection’s active period may be short, or this infection may develop into a chronic infection and then spread through the body. This infection is also introduced into the body through the lungs. It is found in soil and mold and infection occurs when a person breathes in airborne particles.

Sporotrichosis

This condition is characterized by a fungus-caused skin infection that is long-term. The Sporothrix schenckii fungus is responsible for causing this infection. This fungus is found in vegetation. This infection typically occurs when plant materials, such as briars, rosebushes, or mulch-rich dirt gets into a break in the skin, such as a cut.

Possible Symptoms

Certain symptoms are often present when a patient has developed fungal arthritis. These may include:

  • Arthritis
  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Fever
  • Joint stiffness
  • Ankle, leg, and feet swelling

Resources

MedlinePlus. (2009). Fungal Arthritis. Retrieved on November 21, 2010 from MedlinePlus: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000444.htm

University of Maryland Medical Center. (2006). Fungal Arthritis Overview. Retrieved on November 21, 2010 from the University of Maryland Medical Center: https://www.umm.edu/ency/article/000444.htm