Septic arthritis

What is septic arthritis?

Septic arthritis, also known as infectious arthritis or bacterial arthritis, is characterized by the invasion of the joint space by bacteria. This causes the joint to become inflamed resulting in pain.

Prognosis of the disease

In cases where treatment is started at the right time and the specialist manages to diagnose the disease in time, the prognosis will be very positive. Otherwise it may progress to a bone infection (osteomyelitis) or leave sequelae.

Symptoms of septic arthritis

The symptoms of this disease may vary depending on the severity and type of disease suffered by the patient. On the one hand, bacterial infections affect a specific joint, and their symptoms are: joint pain, heat, erythema and edema. A movement of the joint can become very painful. These symptoms often manifest quickly and may be accompanied by fever and chills.

Arthritis can be caused by any type of infection, directly or indirectly.

Medical tests for septic arthritis

The specialist will begin with a review of the patient’s medical history and physical examination. Sometimes a person’s presenting symptoms can help the physician make the proper diagnosis. Specialists then confirm the first diagnosis by drawing a blood test or by taking samples of joint fluid and examining whether or not the infection is present. In cases where the infection is caused by bacteria, joint fluid tests may be essential to identify the bacteria in question and prescribe the antibiotic needed for treatment.

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What are the causes of septic arthritis?

Any type of infection can cause arthritis, directly or indirectly. In direct infection, the infectious bacteria are found in the joint. In many cases the infection starts in another area of the body and is carried through the blood supply to the joints. In other situations the infection may enter the joint by taking advantage of an injury to the joint.

Can it be prevented?

The most effective way to prevent septic arthritis is to carry out an adequate treatment prior to the diagnosis of the disease. In other words, it is very important to identify and combat the main cause of this disease.

Treatments for septic arthritis

As for the treatment of this disease, antibiotics play a fundamental role in combating the disease. This type of treatment should be adjusted according to the result of the antibiogram, which analyzes the type of microorganism identified and the antibiotics to which it is resistant, in order to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment. In addition, the specialist may prescribe anti-inflammatories and analgesics to help relieve pain. Specialists also recommend resorting to physiotherapy in order to restore the function of the damaged joint.

Which specialist treats it?

The specialist who treats septic arthritis disease is the rheumatologist. Top Doctors offers the patient any kind of information in order to facilitate the appointment booking. The patient will be able to choose the specialist that best suits his or her needs on-line.