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Septic Arthritis

Septic Arthritis is also known as bacterial arthritis and is a condition caused by bacterial infection of the joint space. The infection may be located at the affected joint or may have traveled through the bloodstream. Micro-organisms such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and group B streptococci are often the cause for this form of arthritis. This medical condition must be treated immediately lest it destroy the affected joint. The knees and hip are most often affected by septic arthritis. But sometimes the shoulder, wrist, elbow or ankles are affected. Often septic arthritis is noticed in persons who have had traumatic injury to the joint or fitted with an artificial joint. Diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis can put a person at higher risk for septic arthritis. Poor immune system and intravenous drug abuse are other conditions that put a person at additional risk of contracting septic arthritis. Septic arthritis manifests with symptoms such as intense joint pain and swelling of the affected joint. Swelling on the affected joint makes it very tender and redness is noticed. Low grade fever is also noticed.

Aspiration of synovial fluid and its culture helps in diagnosing septic arthritis. X-rays may not help in detecting this form of arthritis in the early stages. Draining the increased synovial fluid from the affected joint can help in relieving pressure and reduce symptoms of septic arthritis. The damage to the affected joint can be arrested once the fluid is drained. Blood tests can help in prescribing the right antibiotics to find the type of bacteria that is causing the infection. In the early stages of treatment, the antibiotics are directly injected into the vein. But the antibiotic treatment must be continued till the infection is completely eliminated. While warm compresses and elevation gives some relief to a person suffering from septic arthritis, rest will also do good. The affected joint may be rehabilitated with supportive exercises.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: July 22, 2024