Reactive Arthritis

Reactive arthritis (ReA) is a rare type of arthritis that occurs after certain types of infections. It can affect joints of the lower body such as the feet, ankles, hips, knees and sometimes the lower back.

Reactive arthritis is usually acute (sudden onset, short-term), but it can also be chronic (long-term). Chronic forms can flare up and down. Reactive Arthritis used to be called Reiter's syndrome.

Reactive Arthritis belongs to a family of diseases called the seronegative spondyloarthropathies. Other members of this family include ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and enteropathic arthritis.

Who Gets Reactive Arthritis

Reactive arthritis typically occurs 10 to 14 days after an infection of the bowels (diarrhea), the urinary tract, or following a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as chlamydia. For some reason that is not well understood, the infection triggers an arthritic reaction.

Reactive arthritis affects adult men and women aged 30 to 40. It is a bit more common in men. There is a genetic component in people who get Reactive Arthritis. About 75% of all patients who get it have a gene called HLA-B27.

Understanding Reactive Arthritis