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Can the Cornonavirus Affect My Bones and Joints?

AN ORTHO-PINION
Stuart J. Fischer, MD

Stuart J. Fischer, MD, FAAOS

Any views or recommendations shared in the Ortho-pinions blog are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

It is a question that patients are asking their orthopaedic surgeons frequently in the midst of the pandemic.

Many of the symptoms of the coronavirus mimic the typical symptoms of a viral infection or flu syndrome.

One of these symptoms may be muscle aches or myalgias. You may get pain in your 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 joint in your arm or leg, the virus may exaggerate the symptoms. The pain may be severe and limiting.

While the coronavirus can cause permanent damage to vital organs, such as the lungs and kidneys, it is not known to cause any permanent damage to bones and joints.  It is, however, too early in the pandemic to know all of the long-term consequences.

Many patients take anti-inflammatory medication to help control the pain and sometimes the fever brought on by the virus. Or they may take anti-inflammatory medication because they have ongoing symptoms from an arthritic joint. While the medication may be helpful, it may also suppress other symptoms, such as fever, that would help diagnose the coronavirus infection.

For this reason, you should consult your regular physician if you are experiencing any virus-like symptoms before continuing anti-inflammatory medication.

You should also be aware that bone or joint pain may be caused by other conditions in your body.

Inflammatory processes such as bursitis, tendinitis, or even a gout attack are just a few  of the things that can cause musculoskeletal pain. Muscle aches are also a known side effect of some medications.

Some patients may also experience muscle aches as a side effect of the COVID - 19 vaccine. These are usually temporary and resolve after a few days.

So 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.

Learn more: COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Animation

Last Reviewed

January 2021

Contributed and/or Updated by

Stuart J. Fischer, MD, FAAOS

AAOS does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians referenced herein. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance should consult his or her orthopaedic surgeon, or locate one in your area through the AAOS Find an Orthopaedist program on this website.