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Tuberculous arthritis is an infection of the joints caused by
Causes of Tuberculous arthritis
Approximately 1% of people affected with tuberculosis will
develop associated arthritis. The joints most frequently involved are the spine, hips,
knees, wrists, and ankles. Most cases involve just one joint.
Tuberculosis involving the spine is often referred to as Pott's disease. The hunchback
of Notre Dame had a gibbous deformity (humpback) which is thought to have been caused by
Tuberculous arthritis can be very destructive. In particular, if the spine is involved, a
patient may have numbness, tingling or weakness below the level of the infection. Muscle
atrophy and muscle spasms can occur.
Symptoms of Tuberculous arthritis
Common symptoms are a low grade fever, especially at night. Joint swelling with warm
and tender joints. A patient will see a decrease in joint mobility. Many patients will see
a spinal mass, this can be associated with numbness and tingling. Sometimes a
patient will feel weakness in the legs. Onset is usually slow and
may involve only one joint.
Diagnosis of Tuberculous arthritis
Diagnosis begins with your doctor observing some of the
symptoms. After doing so he may call for the following test.
Xrays of your joints
Positive tuberculin skin test
Aspiration of fluid in the joint (shows tuberculosis bacteria on a culture or stain and
many white blood cells on cell count)
Biopsy of the joint (may show numerous tuberculosis bacteria)
Treatment of Tuberculous
Treatment is aimed at eradicating the infection with
anti-tubercular medications. Analgesics and application of heat or cold to the joints may
provide symptomatic relief of pain. Surgery may be necessary, especially to drain spinal
abscesses or to stabilize the spine. Surgery is rarely needed for infections of other
Prognosis of Tuberculous arthritis
This form of arthritis can be very destructive to the tissues.
Control of the infection should prevent further joint involvement. However, joint
destruction may take place before the infection is controlled.
Complications of Tuberculous
Vertebral collapse resulting in kyphosis
Spinal cord compression