Septic Arthritis, also known as infectious arthritis, is caused a harmful bacteria, virus or fungus, infecting the joint. If untreated, it may destroy parts of the joint in just a few days. The infection may also spread to other parts of the body.
Signs and symptoms
Septic arthritis should be considered whenever the onset of joint pain is very fast and when only one joint is affected. Knee is the most common but it can also affect hip or other joints. Typically just one joint is affected.
Septic arthritis is usually caused by bacteria, but may be caused by viral, and fungal infections as well.
The diagnosis can be be made by extracting fluid from part of the joint. Sometimes it can be hard to determine the diagnosis since no test is able to completely rule it out as a possibility.
Septic arthritis in a young, sexually active individual may be caused by Neisseria gonorrhea.
Septic arthritis can cause pain with any movement of the affected joint. Therefore, those affected will often want keep the extremity still. Other common signs and symptoms are joint swelling, redness, and warmth – the tell-tale signs of an inflammation.
People with artificial joints are more at risk than others but have slightly different symptoms and require different treatment. Septic arthritis is considered a medical emergency.
Therapy is usually antibiotics that are injected into the bloodstream, pain relievers and draining the knee from fluid (aspiration). For young sufferers of Septic Arthritis, a 10 day course of antibiotics is sufficient in certain cases.
In infection of a prosthetic joint, a layer of bacteria’s is often created on the surface of the prosthesis which is resistant to antibiotics. Surgical removal of this bacterial layer might be needed in these cases. A replacement prosthesis is usually not inserted at the time of surgery. For patient who cannot undergo the surgery, a trial-and-error long-term antibiotic therapy is a possibility.