Septic arthritis is a severe form of joint infection. It requires prompt diagnosis and rapid treatment since it can rapidly damage bone and other tissue joints.
The condition is typically brought about by bacteria that proliferated from an infection in another body part. The bacteria can enter the joints via the bloodstream. A joint can become infected by injuries or during surgery.
Any individual can end up with septic arthritis, but it is prevalent among the elderly and young children. The risk is high if the following are present:
- Skin infections
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Joint replacement surgery
- IV drug or alcohol abuse
- Health conditions that lowers the ability of the body to fight infections such as cancer or diabetes
What are the indications?
The usual signs of septic arthritis include:
- Fever and chills
- Redness, swelling and joint pain, usually the knees
If these signs are present, a doctor must be seen right away. If treatment is delayed, the affected joint might be permanently damaged.
Management of septic arthritis
Septic arthritis is generally managed with antibiotics that are taken for 3-6 weeks. In most cases, the individual must be hospitalized for some time after antibiotics are started.
Fluid from the joint is drained which is usually done once the fluid is drawn out for diagnosis. In some cases, joint arthroscopy is required to drain the fluid.
Initially, the infected joint is kept immobilized to limit movement. The individual can gently move the joint again after a few days of treatment. The individual can go home if IV medications are not needed and able to move around as the joint heals. Depending on the affected joint, crutches or a wheelchair along with physical therapy are needed during the recovery.