Lyme Borreliosis, more commonly known as Lyme Disease is a multi-system inflammatory bacterial disease caused by bites from young and adult deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis). The disease is not contagious between humans, but after infection from a tick bite the disease targets various areas of tissue throughout the body.
Common Lyme Disease symptoms include:
- Aches of joints and muscles
- Skin rash (ususally in the shape of a target)
- Swelling of joints
- Swollen glands
- Facial paralysis
It is very common not to find the tick or a target-shaped rash where the tick bite had occurred. The Western Blot and ELISA tests are two very common medical tests that your doctor can use to see if you have Lyme Disease; these tests are often taken during routine check-up's.
Treatment for Lyme Disease is relatively simple if discovered early. Standard antibiotics such as doxycycline, amoxicillin and ceftin are used to cure the disease, and can generally have the patient back to normal in a short time. Rest and regular hydration is always encouraged during the healing process of lyme disease.
At Healthmark Foot and Ankle we are constantly answering our patients' questions about Lyme Disease. Patients have come in with swollen legs and feet, aching knees and ankles, and general fatigue. It is not uncommon for people to get diagnosed with Lyme Disease after symptoms have appeared in the foot, ankle, and leg.
For tips on preventing tick bites, read our article here.
Check out the Tick Management Handbook, An integrated guide for homeowners, pest control operators, and public health officials for the prevention of tick-associated disease , written by entomologist Kirby C. Stafford III, Ph.D.