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Arthritis, Septic

Arthritis, Septic Causes

Septic arthritis is caused by the spreading of bacteria through the bloodstream to a particular joint. The condition may also affect a joint that has been directly invaded by bacteria during a recent surgery and injury or trauma. Streptococcus pneumoniae, staphylococcus, and group B streptococcus organisms are the bacteria typically associated with the development of acute septic arthritis. Meanwhile, chronic septic arthritis is associated with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Candida albicans. Other risk factors identified with septic arthritis include: chronic illness, IV drug abuse, artificial joint implants, immunosuppressant medications, rheumatoid arthritis, and sickle cell disease, among others.

Arthritis, Septic Definition

Arthritis, septic (septic arthritis) is an inflammation of a joint that results from a bacterial infection, or, in rare cases, from a viral or fungal infection. Also sometimes called infectious arthritis or bacterial arthritis, this disease is commonly acute but has the potential to become chronic.

Arthritis, Septic Diagnosis

To diagnose septic arthritis, a blood culture may be taken to determine the presence of bacterium or invading organism. Culturing the synovial fluid (or fluid from the affected joint) may also help in diagnosis. In addition, an X-ray may be done on the affected joint.

Arthritis, Septic Symptoms and Signs

Symptoms of septic arthritis include severe inflammation, pain, swelling, and redness in the joints. Septic arthritis most commonly affects the knees, shoulders, hips, elbows, wrists, and finger joints. Affected patients usually have difficulty, or experience severe pain, when trying to move the limb of the infected joints. Frequently, only one joint is infected; but in some cases, it may occur in more than one joint. At the onset, infected patients may also experience low grade fever and chills. If untreated, septic arthritis can destroy the joints completely within a short period of time.

Arthritis, Septic Treatment

Treatment for septic arthritis most commonly involves antibiotics to target the infection. Resting, refraining from movements, elevating the affected limbs, applying a warm compress, and performing basic exercises may also help in pain relief. Severe cases of septic arthritis usually require surgical intervention to drain synovial fluid from the infected joint.

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