Understanding Septic Arthritis

Septic arthritis is one of the many kinds of arthritis characterized by the inflammation of joints. What makes septic arthritis different from other forms of the disease is the means of how it is caused. The inflammation in the affected joints is brought about by an infection usually caused by bacteria and rarely by a virus or a fungi.

What cause septic arthritis?

Septic arthritis can arise or develop from an infection found somewhere else in the body. It can develop in people with an upper respiratory tract infection or a urinary tract infection. The bacteria can then travel by means of the bloodstream and can enter into the joints though a lesion or by extension from an adjacent tissue.

The lining of the joints can do little to protect itself from infection once bacteria has settled in. once gaining entry, the bacteria then starts to destroy the cartilage surrounding the joint. Once this happens, the body reacts to the damage as an inflammation of the joint which then reduces the blood low around it, causing even more damage.

Symptoms of septic arthritis

The most common symptom of septic arthritis is severe pain surrounding the affected joint. And because the arthritis is brought about by a bacterial or fungal infection, people may also experience other symptoms such as chills and fever along with the swelling and some warmth around the affected joint.

The joints most affected by such symptoms include those in the arms and legs especially the knees. In rare cases, joints found in the back, neck and head may also be affected.


Immediate treatment for septic arthritis usually helps resolve the infection that causes it. By if treatment is not provided for the condition, it could lead to joint degeneration in a span of five to seven days. This is could lead to permanent damage. Other associated complications of untreated septic arthritis include osteoarthritis and joint deformity.

How to treat septic arthritis?

The most effective treatment for septic arthritis is through the use of antibiotics to take care of the underlying infection causing it.

Antibiotics used are chosen according to the type of bacteria or organism that is causing the infection. For cases where some degenerative damage has already started, surgical mans may be necessary in order to reconstruct the damaged joint.


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