Reactive Arthritis otherwise known as Reiter’s Syndrome

There are many Americans who suffer from a condition called reactive arthritis which is also known as Reiter’s Syndrome. Reiter’s Syndrome is actually the most common type of inflammatory poly arthritis in young Americans.

How do you know if you have Reiter’s Syndrome?

There are many different types of symptoms associated with Reiter’s Syndrome. Initially it is common to have a low-grade fever and also inflammation in the conjunctiva of the eye. With some people arthritis sets in and can be mild and in others the arthritis is severe. Oftentimes it is the case that the following parts of the body are symptomatic:

  • low back
  • the large joints, hip pain, knee pain and ankle pain
  • Achilles tendon pain
  • heel pain
  • eye pain/and or burning
  • some skin lesions on the palms and soles
  • ulcers in the mouth which oftentimes are painless
  • sometimes the glands in the penus can be symptomatic and in males genital lesions can sometimes be seen as well
  • In males and females incontinence is possible
  • Penis pain
  • Urethral discharge
  • a burning or stinging while urinating

Generally reactive arthritis most commonly occurs in men before the age of 40 and sometimes follows an infection of Chlamydia, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella or Yesinia. Yesinia is not a common term although it is a food poisoning that is similar symptomatically to plague. Yesinia most often comes from eating pig. It is also known as Y. enterocolitica infection and according to the Center for Disease Control Y. enterocolitica infects approximately 100,000 people per year in the United States.


For many people reactive arthritis goes away in a few weeks and for others it takes a few months. For some the symptoms may return over a period of years. And with others it is a chronic condition that impacts their everyday living. The only way to avoid the disease is to not contract a sexually transmitted disease or a gastrointestinal infection.

Although very rare some individuals suffer from aortic insufficiency in the heart valve that can cause the backward flow of blood from the aorta into the left ventricle. ACE inhibitor drugs and diuretics may be prescribed for those suffering from heart problems relating to reactive arthritis and others will need surgery. If you have chest pains or fainting spells, fast or slow heartbeat, light headedness, paleness, shortness of breath and or excessive sweating immediate treatment is necessary.

Another serious condition that can result is uveitis which is known as a swelling or irritation of the uvea. The uvea is the known as the middle layer of the eye and provides most of the blood supply to the retina. It is generally caused by body-wide infection and treatment can involve antibiotics and powerful anti-inflammatories.

In 1984 there was an outbreak of salmonella typhimurium and there appeared to be approximately 432 police officers infected and out of that number 27 suffered from acute arthritis. Out of the 27 approximately half resolved their arthritis issues in 1 year and 18 had reoccurring symptoms otherwise known as Reiter’s Syndrome.

Recently we had a case where a client had Reiter’s Syndrome from an outbreak at the ‘Taste of Chicago’. Unfortunately, many cases go undiagnosed. If you or a loved one needs representation with respect to Reiter’s Syndrome please contact Gary Newland with Law firm of Newland & Newland, LLP as he has experience representing those suffering from Reiter’s Syndrome.

  • Newland & Newland LLP, Attorneys, Arlington Heights, IL