Viral arthritis is a term that is a bit deceiving, as no form of arthritis derives directly from any virus and the two do not always exist at the same time…
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When you get an infection, your body sends out an army of good guys, known as antibodies, to fight off the disease causing foreigner, or antigen. Sometimes, these antigens band together and create a mass, which then finds its way into a joint and proceeds to cause arthritic symptoms.
To reiterate, viral arthritis occurs when a virus initiates symptoms of a rheumatic nature through one of three mechanisms. Additionally, factors such as race, gender, health of your immune system, medical history, age and genetics, all contribute to the severity of your symptoms, as well as any long-term consequences.
Some viruses cause arthritic symptoms, such as joint pain and stiffness, though these typically disappear with the virus. In some instances, the symptoms stay and you develop arthritis but it is uncertain as to whether the virus caused the arthritis or if it simply triggered the previously dormant gene.