Achy Stiff Or Swollen Joints
Joint pain and stiffness, often intermittent, are early Lyme symptoms. Your joints may be inflamed, warm to the touch, painful, and swollen. You may have stiffness and limited range of motion in some joints .
Pain may move around. Sometimes your knees may hurt, whereas other times its your neck or your heels. You may also have bursitis . Bursae are the thin cushions between bone and surrounding tissue.
The pain may be severe, and it may be transitory. More than one joint may be affected. Most often the large joints are involved .
People often attribute joint problems to age, genetics, or sports. Lyme should be added to that list, as these statistics indicate:
- One study estimates that 80 percent of people with untreated Lyme have muscle and joint symptoms .
- Fifty percent of people with untreated Lyme have intermittent episodes of arthritis .
- Two-thirds of people have their first episode of joint pain within six months of the infection .
- Use of anti-inflammatory drugs may mask the actual number of people with joint swelling .
Joint pain that comes and goes, or moves from joint to joint, could be a sign of Lyme.
Lyme Disease Knee Pain
The joint pain caused by Lyme disease primarily occurs in the knees and other larger joints. Other commonly affected joints are the hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and ankles. This pain occurs because the bacteria that causes Lyme disease invades the joints and causes the tissues that line them to become inflamed. Many patients with this condition describe their experience as joint pain that moves from one joint to another and pain that comes and goes throughout the day.
How Does Lyme Disease Affect The Joints
Lyme disease is an infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria transmitted from the bite of an infected blacklegged tick . A bulls-eye shaped rash is an easily recognizable sign of this tick borne disease however, if the rash doesnt appear or goes unnoticed, Lyme disease is often confused with other conditions due to the common nature of its flu-like symptoms.
Lyme disease can typically be treated with a course of antibiotics however, if left untreated, the infection can develop into a chronic disorder affecting the heart, joints, and nervous system. Once the disease reaches this stage, the infection may be managed, but the damage it has caused can be irreversible. .
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Key Points For Healthcare Providers
Life With Lyme Disease: A Woman’s 15
Scientists estimate that 10 to 20 percent of patients diagnosed and treated for Lyme continue to suffer symptoms such as arthritis, brain fog, pain and fatigue.
While Jutrass work focused on Lyme arthritis, its entirely possible that the findings may apply to other lingering Lyme symptoms.
Whenever and wherever the bacteria grow, they shed peptidoglycan, so it seems plausible that it may be important in other late-stage Lyme manifestations, Jutras said.
The new findings could be an important new insight into Lyme arthritis and maybe other outcomes of infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, said Mark Soloski, an immunologist and a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and co-director for basic research for the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center, who like Alaedini was not involved in the new study.
Soloskis own research points to immune system malfunctions. Our patients showed inflammation in unique regions of the brain, which suggests an immune process may be driving the symptoms, Soloski said.
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How Is It Treated
An initial episode of Lyme arthritis should be treated with a 4-week course of oral antibiotics. Patients with persistent joint inflammation and pain after the first course of antibiotics may require a second course . In some cases, joint swelling and pain can persist or recur after two courses of antibiotics. The cause of persistent arthritis is unknown but is thought to be driven by immunologic factors. Additional antibiotics have not been shown to improve these symptoms, and patient referral to a rheumatologist should be considered.
How Can I Tell If My Foot Or Ankle Pain Is Caused By Lyme Disease
The first step is getting a professional evaluation of your feet and ankles. There are millions of articles, blogs and forums dedicated to discussing how Lyme disease and Bartonella contribute to foot and ankle pain, but a self-diagnosis online shouldnt be the basis for your treatment decisions.
Contact our team of experienced surgical podiatrists today for a caring, expert evaluation of your foot and ankle health.
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Lyme Disease And Rheumatoid Arthritis: Similarities Differences And Why A Misdiagnosis Can Be Deadly
Because its symptoms mimic those of so many other diseases both tick-borne and otherwise Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed. One of the most common Lyme disease misdiagnoses is Rheumatoid Arthritis , a chronic condition with less clear causes than Lyme disease.
Though there are many fundamental differences between these two conditions, its true that arthritic pain stemming from Lyme disease can often look like RA. In fact, Lyme was first discovered and documented in part because of a group of children presenting with arthritis symptoms in Lyme, Connecticut.
So, if youre experiencing joint pain, how can you tell the difference? If youve been bitten by a tick or think youre at risk for a tick-borne disease, its extremely important not to delay seeking medical attention or ignore any arthritic pain that might be associated with Lyme disease. Continue reading to better understand the differences and similarities between Lyme disease and arthritis.
Lyme Disease: Causes and Risk Factors
Lyme disease is a tick-borne infectious disease caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. Though Lyme is treatable with antibiotics, it can worsen, change symptoms, spread to the neurological system, become a chronic condition, and even become life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated right away.
Common Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Defining Patient Subgroups: Post
Patients with persistent symptoms related to Lyme disease likely represent a heterogeneous population, which includes previously untreated patients, as well as those treated patients who remain symptomatic. As a result, some will manifest primarily patient-reported symptoms while others will present with symptoms in conjunction with objective, physical findings. This heterogeneity is further complicated by variation in terminology and the definitions used by different groups in the field.
Figure 3. A schematic of clinical- and research-defined patient subgroups among those with persistent symptoms associated with Lyme disease . The size of each patient subgroup is not meant to represent actual population frequency, as prevalence data is extremely limited. IDSA, Infectious Diseases Society of America ILADS, International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society CLD-PT, Chronic Lyme Disease-Previously Treated CLD-U, Chronic Lyme Disease-Untreated IgG, Immunoglobulin G CFS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome FM, Fibromyalgia.
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Lyme Disease & Plantar Fasciitis
A Lyme co-infection called Bartonella can cause the same foot and heel pain symptoms as plantar fasciitis:
- Painful inflammation along the bottom of your foot
- Pain is worst first thing in the morning
- Long periods of standing or sitting cause pain to flare up
Statistically, Americans are more likely to suffer from plantar fasciitis than Bartonella. No matter the cause of your foot pain, its important to learn the root cause for effective treatment. Our experienced surgical podiatrists will evaluate your foot and heel pain with a view to creating an effective and lasting treatment plan. Back to top
Milwaukee podiatrists treating all types of foot, heel & ankle pain
Our team of elite surgical podiatrists are committed to providing the highest level of care for every patient. Well take the time to listen as you describe your symptoms, and provide solutions for fast pain relief and long-term results.
How Does Lyme Disease Affect Vision
In the early stages, visual symptoms can include: blur, visual fatigue, double vision, headaches associated with visual activities, losing place when reading, seeing words appear to double or become double when reading, and more obscure problems often not associated with vision such as difficulty with balance, spatial orientation, memory, comprehension, feeling of being over-whelmed by being in a busy-crowded environment with movement of people and objects, sensitivity to sound, to name several.2
In later stages of the disease, inflammation of the eye may develop. Parts of the eye that may be affected include the uvea, the middle layer inside the eye, the cornea, part of the outer coat of the eye the iris, the colored circle around the pupil, and the choroid, a layer of blood vessels in the eye. Ocular symptoms can include sensitivity to light and floaters .3
Research also shows that when the visual process is compromised by tick-borne disease the person will develop compensatory habits in order to attempt to function with their compromised vision. This can put strain on the body that will lead to fatigue, discomfort and compromise of higher visual-perceptual processing associated with memory and cognitive function.
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Lyme Disease Vs Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Lyme arthritis is most common in 7- to 10-year-olds, so it tends to be confused with juvenile idiopathic arthritis , a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects young children, says Dr. Lewandowski. If a child lives outside the areas where Lyme is common New England, the Mid-Atlantic, Wisconsin, and Minnesota its more than likely JIA, not a tick-borne disease.
To answer the JIA vs. Lyme arthritis question, doctors can test patients for signs of Lyme disease. The first step is to test for antibodies with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test. If that comes back positive, a doctor will likely order something called a Western blot test, which will show certain darkened bands if there are antibodies fighting a Borrelia burgdorferi infection.
Health’citizen Scientists’ Take On Tick
As for the new study, it leaves open the question of whether there are still bacteria in the joints of patients with Lyme arthritis, Lewis said. The authors think that the peptidoglycan remains in synovial fluid after the pathogen is gone. My guess is that the pathogen remains in the joints and sheds the antigen. It would be good to know how things really are.
When it comes to finding physical explanations for patient symptoms, its not necessary to determine whether PTLDS is caused by lingering bacteria or to a malfunctioning immune system, said Dr. Peter Novak, an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and director of the autonomic laboratory at Brigham and Womens Hospital. Novak, who also was not involved in the new study, and his colleagues have discovered patients end up with damage to their small nerves and also diminished blood flow to certain areas of the brain.
He suspects that damage is due to changes in the immune system that were kicked off by the Lyme infection and remain after the bacteria have been obliterated. As for patients who experience improvement when treated with long courses of antibiotics, Novak believes this is because many antibiotics also have an anti-inflammatory effect.
So, while others look for ways to test for the presence or absence of the bacteria, Novaks strategy is to try to make patients feel better by treating their symptoms.
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Lyme Disease Vs Rheumatoid Arthritis
Lyme disease can sometimes be confused for other conditions, and its not uncommon for patients presenting with Lyme disease-related joint pain to be misdiagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis . Both Lyme and RA cause joint pain and can be debilitating when left untreated, but there are differences.
- Lyme arthritis tends to manifest in larger joints , on one side of the body. Lyme joint pain tends to come and go.
- Rheumatoid arthritis occurs more often in the hands, feet, fingers, and toes, and shows up on both sides of the body. RA joint pain and stiffness occurs every day, and is usually chronic.
- Lyme disease usually goes away when treated, and most patients make a full recovery.
- Rheumatoid arthritis treatment can manage symptoms and show the progression of the disease, but there is no cure.
Lyme pain can often migrate throughout the body, and patients may have pain in their knee one week, and in their wrists the following week, says Chicago-based integrative medicine specialist Casey Kelley, MD. With rheumatoid arthritis, the pain often stays where it begins and does not migrate.
Getting Lyme puts you at greater risk for later developing RA and other types of inflammatory arthritis. One study found that nearly one-third of participants who had Lyme-arthritis later developed an inflammatory arthritis.
Lyme disease symptoms typically begin 3-30 days after youve been bitten by a tick. Early symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- Bulls eye rash
Finding Lyme Disease Joint Pain Relief
If Lyme disease is diagnosed and treated right away, it is far less likely that arthritis symptoms will occur.1,7 But unfortunately, it is very easy to misdiagnose Lyme disease arthritis and mistake it for another condition.8 A single course of antibiotics may be sufficient in curing the Lyme disease and alleviating the arthritis symptoms that it causes.9 But if long-term joint damage is sustained by the disease, additional treatment options may need to be pursued. Chronic arthritis may develop after periods of continuous joint inflammation even after the Lyme disease bacteria has been flushed from the body.
For example, it may help to apply an arthritis pain relief cream, such as JointFlex, to the large joints affected by Lyme disease. Anti-inflammatory oral medications may also be recommended to reduce levels of swelling in the joints. If joint pain symptoms persist after two to three months of antibiotics, DMARDs or synovectomy may be recommended as well for some patients. The best way to prevent these symptoms and Lyme disease, in general, is to avoid tall grass and brush habitats that are favored by ticks, use insect repellents while spending time outdoors, and inspect the body for ticks so that they can be promptly removed before spreading disease.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
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Lyme disease is an underreported, under-researched, and often debilitating disease transmitted by spirochete bacteria. The spiral-shaped bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, are transmitted by blacklegged deer ticks. Lymes wide range of symptoms mimic those of many other ailments, making it difficult to diagnose .
The blacklegged ticks can also transmit other disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. These are known as coinfections . These ticks that transmit Lyme are increasing their geographical spread. As of 2016, they were found in about half the counties in 43 of 50 states in the United States .
Lyme is the fifth most reported of notifiable diseases in the United States, with an estimated 329,000 new cases found annually . Some studies estimate that there are as many as 1 million cases of Lyme in the United States every year .
Most people with Lyme who are treated right away with three weeks of antibiotics have a good prognosis.
But if youre not treated for weeks, months, or even years after infection, Lyme becomes more difficult to treat. Within days of the bite, the bacteria can move to your central nervous system, muscles and joints, eyes, and heart .
Here is a list of 13 common signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.
Tests & Imaging For Arthritis After Lyme Disease:
Our arthritis and joint pain experts use blood tests and a physical exam to accurately diagnose arthritis after Lyme disease.
Our expertise from treating a large number of people with arthritis helps us distinguish between Lyme-related arthritis and other forms of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis. This level of expertise helps you get the treatments you need as quickly as possible.
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Lyme Disease: Why Does Joint Pain Persist
Researchers have found clues that might lead to a treatment for Lyme arthritis. The secret may lie in the walls of the bacterium that causes the condition.
Lyme disease occurs when a person becomes infected with a tick-borne bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi.
Although doctors can often treat Lyme disease with antibiotics, if they do not catch it early, the bacteria can cause long-term issues with the individuals joints.
Lyme arthritis can persist for months or even years in some cases.
Researchers are still unsure why joint symptoms can continue long after antibiotics have destroyed the bacteria.
30,000 cases of Lyme disease among the United States population.
However, the true number of cases is likely to be much higher. In fact, the CDC estimate that there might be up to 300,000 cases each year.
According to the CDC, reports of Lyme disease have tripled since the late 1990s, and overall, tick-borne diseases are becoming more prevalent. This increase is due, at least in part, to rising global temperatures.
Due to the steady growth in the number of cases, scientists are keen to uncover more effective ways of treating the long-term symptoms.