Septic Arthritis

Also known as: infectious arthritis.

What is septic arthritis?

When an infection of a joint in the body causes arthritis-like symptoms, this is known as septic arthritis. It can occur for several reasons and can often be treated successfully.

What causes septic arthritis?

An infection of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria is the most common cause, but septic arthritis can also occur due to other bacteria. Viral infections or rheumatoid arthritis can cause similar symptoms.

The infection can start elsewhere in the body and travel to a joint through the bloodstream or affect the joint from a skin or wound infection.

What are the symptoms of septic arthritis?

Symptoms of septic arthritis include:

  • joint pain
  • swelling
  • tenderness
  • limping
  • difficulty using the affected joint
  • fever

What are septic arthritis care options?

Typically intravenous antibiotics will be given. Fluid will need to be drained from the joint to start the treatment of the infection in certain cases. Patients are given antibiotics for several weeks, sometimes followed by oral antibiotics.

Reviewed by: Otto M Ramos, MD

This page was last updated on: July 22, 2022 10:41 AM

Infectious Diseases

The Division of Infectious Diseases at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital uses state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to identify acute or chronic viral and bacterial diseases, so that we can treat it effectively as quickly as possible.

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