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Reactive arthritis - ever heard of it?

Posted Feb 10 2009 10:09am

My husband ran across this article on awhile back and thought it might be of interest to me. He was right! I'd never heard of reactive arthritis before. Although the condition kept professional golfer James Nitties off the links for awhile, he was able to get the condition under control and is back at it again. Read on to find out more!

What's a little arthritis at the age of 22? Not enough to stop Nitties
by Helen Ross

LA QUINTA, Calif. -- For three weeks in a Dallas hospital, James Nitties didn't know whether he would ever walk again, much less play golf.

Nitties was 22 at the time and had come to Texas in the summer of 2005 to visit friends. Three days into the trip, though, the young Aussie's right hip seized up and landed him in the ER where nurses gave him morphine to quell the pain. "It felt like someone stuck a screwdriver in there and was turning it," Nitties recalled.
The pain traveled to his knee, which swelled up like a soccer ball, and then to his foot. Nitties felt like a pincushion as doctors tried to determine what was wrong. Finally, a rheumatologist was called in and made the correct diagnosis -- he had reactive arthritis, a chronic condition that is characterized by a buildup of fluid in the joints. He'll always have it, but the arthritis can be controlled by medication.
Once he was discharged from the hospital, Nitties spent another month in the United States recovering. Walking was so painful, he left the door to his hotel room ajar so he didn't have to open it when room service was delivered. He was on crutches when he returned to Australia.
"I had my mate dressing me," Nitties said, shaking his head. "For a 22-year-old, it was hard. I don't want to dwell on it and make it like an excuse, but it put me out for a good year."

For those golfers who are reading along, feel free to check out the rest of the article here!
And for those who want to know more about reactive arthritis, read on:
The condition typically develops in response to an infection in another part of your body. Coming into contact with bacteria and developing an infection can trigger reactive arthritis. Though inflammation of your joints (arthritis) is a defining feature of reactive arthritis, this condition can also be associated with inflammation in parts of your body including your eyes, skin and the tube that carries urine from your bladder (urethra).

For most people, signs and symptoms of reactive arthritis come and go, eventually disappearing within 12 months. Treatments for reactive arthritis involve therapies to manage your symptoms and to eliminate any underlying infection.
Reactive arthritis is among a group of disorders known as seronegative spondyloarthropathies that can cause inflammation in the joints of the spine, legs and arms and in other parts of the body.
Treatment may include: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Corticosteroids, Antibiotics, and/or Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers as well as physical therapy.
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