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Reactive arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to a recent infection, usually within the past four to six weeks, with joint swelling and pain. The child has recovered from the infection and, several weeks later, develops the signs of reactive arthritis. This condition was previously called Reiter syndrome.
The symptoms of reactive arthritis include:
Pediatric rheumatologists diagnose reactive arthritis primarily by ruling out other conditions that could be causing the symptoms. The doctor must rule out:
To diagnose reactive arthritis, your child’s rheumatologist will likely run a blood test to check for:
If your child’s doctor suspects reactive arthritis, he or she may also recommend taking fluid out of the affected joint and testing it for white blood cell count, infection or uric acid crystals.
Reactive arthritis is a fairly common type of arthritis in children. It is important that a pediatric rheumatologist properly diagnose and treat your child for this condition.
Your child’s doctor will likely prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce the symptoms of reactive arthritis. The symptoms of reactive arthritis usually go away after about six weeks with treatment.
Visit the trusted websites below to learn more about reactive arthritis and Reiter syndrome.
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.
The American College of Rheumatology provides education and support for patients and families living with reactive arthritis.
The Spondylitis Association of America provides detailed information, as well as patient resources and support, about reactive arthritis
In addition to our primary hospital location at the Academic Health Center in Indianapolis, IN, we have convenient locations to better serve our communities throughout the state.
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