Generally, when your body is attacked by a virus, you will get sick for a limited period of time and then the body's immune system gets rid of the virus and the symptoms of your illness disappear. However, some viruses can cause joint inflammation, in the elbow joint and elsewhere. The joint can become permanently damaged as a result.
Viral arthritis can develop if you have suffered from various viruses, including Parvoviris B-19, according to eOrthopod.com. This is a common virus and more than half of all adults have been infected by parvovirus at some point in their lives. This virus results in the illness called fifth disease, which manifests in a rash on the face and body. Fifth disease usually occurs during childhood. Approximately 15 per cent of the children who have fifth disease experience joint pain, but it generally goes away in short order. Adults who get fifth disease also report experiencing sore joints. The joints that are impacted are usually the hand joints, foot and knee joints and the wrist and ankle joints, on both sides of the body. The joint inflammation and pain usually subsides within a couple of weeks but it has been known to go on for as many as 10 years.
Another virus that can result in serious inflammation of the liver and cause sudden onset arthritis is Hepatitis B. The type of arthritis that results from hepatitis can plague many joints on both sides of the body. The elbows, shoulders, wrists, ankles and other large joints can be affected. The arthritis and pain will begin before jaundice, which is yellowing of the skin, sets in and may last for weeks. If a person has chronic hepatitis, the joint pain will come and go.
Human immunodeficiency virus or HIV, which is the virus that causes AIDS, is associated with several different forms of arthritis. Someone afflicted with HIV may experience flu like symptoms and joint pain. About 10 per cent of people with HIV have serious joint pain that mostly strikes the elbows, shoulders and knees, says eOrthopod.com.
Rubella can cause joint pain in adults. Rubella is a very infectious viral disease, but a mild one. A rash will appear and joint pain will crop up within a week after that. The joints do not become inflamed but stiff. Your elbows and wrists, ankles, hands and knees are the joints that will most likely be targeted. The joint pain should subside within a couple of weeks but can go on for several years.
Septic Versus Viral Arthritis Versus Reactive Athritis
The Mayo Clinic explains that septic arthritis can occur when you have an infection that spreads through your bloodstream to a joint. The synovium, or lining of your joints, doesn't have much in the way of protection from infection. If bacteria reaches the lining of your joint, it can destroy cartilage. The bacteria will also cause joint inflammation, which reduces the blood flow to the joint and increases the pressure, which damages the joint and causes pain. Viral arthritis, on the other hand, doesn't cause as much joint damage as septic arthritis. Reactive arthritis causes joint pain because there is infection in some other part of the body, although the joint itself is not infected.
Viral arthritis generally doesn't last for too long. Your doctor may advise you to take OTC pain medication, such as Tylenol, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Putting hot or cold packs on your sore joints may help quell the pain.