What Is Septic Arthritis?
Septic arthritis is more common in infants and older adults. Those with artificial joints are also at risk. However, the knee is the most commonly affected joint. But hips, shoulders, and other joints can be too. Prompt treatment is essential. An infection left untreated will damage cartilage and bone quickly.
Treatment typically involves draining the joint. And antibiotics are prescribed to help as needed.
Also, see: Could Knee Pain be a Sign of Arthritis?
Symptoms of Septic Arthritis
The affected joint will be very painful. In fact, it will be hard to use the joint. You may notice swelling and redness and a warm feeling. Fever can also develop too.
Pain is similar to artificial joints. The symptoms can develop months to years after replacement. The joint can also become loose, causing joint pain during movement. Pain will subside when at rest. In extreme cases, your joint can become dislocated.
Causes of Septic Arthritis
Bacterial, fungal, or viral infections are the cause. Staph infections are the most common. This bacteria lives on human skin, even healthy skin. Septic arthritis can also develop if germs travel to a joint. Bacteria from a urinary tract infection can move through the blood. Punctures or even surgery near a joint can also expose the area to germs. An injury such as an animal bite can also cause the infection.
Risk Factors for Septic Arthritis
Any of these factors can increase your risk of developing septic arthritis.
- Artificial joints. Bacteria can enter the area during replacement procedures. However, germs can also travel to the joints.
- Existing joint problems. Osteoarthritis, gout, or other chronic conditions can increase the risk.
- Rheumatoid arthritis medications. These drugs suppress the immune system. As a result, infections are more likely. Signs of rheumatoid arthritis and septic arthritis are similar. So, diagnosing it can be difficult in those with RA.
- Compromised immunity. A weak immune system cannot fight infections as efficiently. This includes people with diabetes, kidney and liver problems, and immunosuppressant conditions
- Skin fragility. If the skin breaks easily, bacteria have more opportunities to get inside. Skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema increase the risk. The risk also increases for those that regularly inject drugs or medications.
- Joint trauma. An animal bite or puncture near a joint can bring germs inside.
Any combination of these factors puts you at even greater risk.
Delayed treatment can lead to permanent joint damage. The tissues continue to degenerate as the infection remains. With artificial joints, you risk dislocation and joint loosening.
When To See Your Doctor
Severe joint pain that appears suddenly means you need to see a doctor. With prompt treatment, you can minimize lasting damage. If pain occurs with an artificial joint, it’s time to see a doctor too.
Are you experiencing septic arthritis? Call us at 888-409-8006. Our doctors would be happy to help!