Fungal arthritis is infection of a joint by a fungus.
Fungal arthritis, also called mycotic arthritis, is a rare condition. This disease can be caused by any of the invasive types of fungi. These organisms may affect bone or joint tissue. One or more joints may be affected, most often the large, weight-bearing joints, especially the knees.
Conditions that can cause fungal arthritis include:
Blastomycosis Candidiasis Coccidioidomycosis Cryptococcosis Histoplasmosis Sporotrichosis
- Exserohilum rostratum
The infection sometimes occurs as a result of an infection in another organ such as the lungs, and tends to get worse very slowly. The large joints are most often affected. People with weakened immune systems who travel or live in endemic areas are more susceptible to most causes of fungal arthritis.
For exserohilum rostratum arthritis, the major risk factor is injection with contaminated steroid vials.
Joint pain Joint stiffness Joint swelling Swelling of the ankles, feet, and legs
Exams and Tests
Culture of joint fluidthat grows fungus Joint x-rayshowing joint changes
- Positive antibody test (serology) for fungal disease
Synovial biopsyshowing fungus
The goal of treatment is to cure the infection using antifungal drugs. The most commonly used antifungal drugs are amphotericin B or medications in the azole family (fluconazole, ketoconazole, or itraconazole).
What happens depends on the underlying cause of the infection and the patient’s overall health. A weakened immune system, cancer, and certain medications can affect the outcome.
Joint damage can occur if the infection is not treated right away.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have any symptoms of fungal arthritis.
Thorough treatment of fungal infections elsewhere in the body may help prevent fungal arthritis.