A physical examination shows joint inflammation. A blood test (serology) for viruses may be performed. In some cases, a small amount of fluid may be removed from the affected joint to determine the cause of the inflammation.
Your doctor may prescribe pain medicines to relieve discomfort. You doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications.
If joint inflammation is severe, aspiration of fluid from the affected joint may relieve pain.
The outcome is usually good. Most viral arthritis disappears within several days or weeks when the virus-related disease goes away.
There are usually no complications.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if arthritis symptoms last longer than a few weeks.
Ohl CA. Infectious arthritis of native joints. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2009:chap 102.
Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.