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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is septic arthritis?
Septic arthritis is an infection in a joint. It can lead to serious pain and permanent damage.
What are the symptoms of septic arthritis?
Symptoms of septic arthritis can include severe pain, redness and swelling in affected joints. Many people will also experience chills and fever.
What causes septic arthritis?
Septic arthritis is caused by infection of the joint, generally by bacteria, although it can be by other organisms such as mycobacteria or fungi. The bacteria may get into the joint because of injury or surgery at or near the joint, but can also travel from …
How is septic arthritis diagnosed?
Septic arthritis is diagnosed by analysis of synovial fluid, withdrawn from the space within the joint by a needle. Blood tests may also be done to detect the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream.
How is septic arthritis treated?
The first treatment for septic arthritis is high doses of antibiotics delivered intravenously. A stay in hospital is usually necessary. In some cases, draining pus from the joint is necessary to help limit damage while the antibiotics are clearing the …
Will septic arthritis clear on its own?
Septic arthritis will not clear on its own. Treatment that begins as early as possible is most effective at limiting damage to the joint. Depending on the type of infection causing it, untreated septic arthritis can cause severe damage to a joint …
Are there different types of septic arthritis?
Septic arthritis is divided into gonococcal septic arthritis, which tends to be less severe and related to the sexually-transmitted disease gonorrhea, and nongonococcal septic arthritis, which is caused by other organisms.
What is the outlook for septic arthritis?
Depending on the organism that causes septic arthritis and how promptly treatment is started, there may be full recovery with no damage to the joint, through to damage that is serious and permanent.
About this article
Author: Dr Joanne Van der Velden PhD, BSc (Hons)
First answered: 24 Oct 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.2 out of 5
Votes: 203 (Click smiley face below to rate)