Can Covid-19 Affect Your Bones And Joints? Expert Explains
If you have an arthritic knee or hip, you may experience more pain. Read on to know more.
There can several reasons behind joint pain including arthritis
Can the Coronavirus affect my bones and joints? It is a question that many patients are asking their orthopaedic surgeons in the midst of the pandemic. It reminds us of the Dengue and Chikungunya fever spikes over the last two decades. Both viral infections have been associated with terrible joint pains and body aches, weeks after the infection episode. Termed reactive arthritis, patients have sometimes struggled with pain and disability for months and years on end, with neither precise diagnosis nor specific treatment.
Many symptoms of Covid-19 including body ache, mimic the typical symptoms of a viral flu. Around 5-10% of patients, two to four weeks after the infection, may develop muscle aches. One may get pain in arms, legs, or back that develops spontaneously with no injury. Typically, in a coronavirus infection, the pain is in muscles rather than in joints. But if you have an arthritic knee or hip, the virus may exaggerate symptoms. The pain may be severe and limiting. It is not known yet to cause any permanent damage to bones and joints. It is, however, too early to know all the long-term consequences!
Next, we face an uphill task of discussing with patients and relatives that since you don't have a known disease entity, we can only offer palliative treatment. This includes locally applied or oral medication and focal hot water fomentation to reduce inflammation. Yoga and breathing exercises early in the day help reduce joint stiffness.
You should also be aware that bone or joint pain may be caused by other conditions in the body. Inflammatory processes such as bursitis, tendinitis, or even a gout attack (high uric acid) are just a few of the things that can cause musculoskeletal pain. Muscle aches are also a known side effect of a few medications (like some cholesterol lowering drugs).
Be aware of your symptoms! If you have any questions about pain or other symptoms relating to your bones or joints, contact your Orthopaedic surgeon. Earlier the better!
(Dr. Miten Sheth, Orthopaedic Surgeon, The Knee Clinic, Mumbai)
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