Septic Arthritis

Infection in the joint is called septic arthritis. The infection can occur due to germs that traveled in the bloodstream from another part of the body. It can also be caused due to  Injuries through which germs directly affect the joint.

Septic arthritis is very common in infants and older adults. And the most commonly affected joint is the knee joint, It can affect other joints also like the shoulder, hip, etc. This infection spreads quickly and also damages the cartilage and bone.

Treatment for septic arthritis includes draining of the joint either with a needle or surgically. To treat the infection antibiotics are also used.


  • Severe pain, discomfort, and difficulty in joint movement.
  • Swelling of the joint
  • Redness of the joint
  • Joint become warm
  • Sometimes the patient can feel a fever


  • Bacterial, Viral, or fungal infections.
  • Can be caused due to any recurrent infection like skin infection, urinary tract infection spread by the bloodstream to the joint.
  • It May be caused due to puncture wound, injections, or any surgery near the joint.

Risk factors:

  • People who are taking medication for rheumatoid arthritis are more prone to have an infection because these medications suppress the immune system.
  • Chronic joint conditions like Osteoarthritis, gout, or lupus.
  • Surgeries Like Joint replacement, or any previous surgery or injury to the joint.
  • People with weak immunity are at higher risk of having septic arthritis.
  • Joint trauma or any animal bite can also cause septic arthritis.
  • If you have multiple risk factors you are at greater risk for septic arthritis.


If not treated or delayed it can cause degeneration of the joint and severe irreversible damage.


There are some investigations that are used to diagnose septic arthritis:-

  • Analysis of joint fluid: Due to infection there are changes in color, volume, and consistency of joint fluids and to know the organism which is causing infection.
    The sample is taken from the affected joint with the help of a needle.
  • Blood profile: To know if there is any kind of infection in your blood.
  • Radiology: X-ray or other tests to check the joint condition.


Treatment for septic arthritis is antibiotics and joint drainage.

  • Joint drainage
    To remove the joint fluid which is infected, methods include:-

    • Needle- By inserting a needle in the joint space.
    • Scope procedure- With the help of Arthroscopy, a camera, and a suction and drainage tube is inserted into the joint through the small incisions.
    • Open surgery- In severe cases when the other drainage methods didn’t work or in some joints where needle and arthroscopy drainage is difficult-need an open surgery
  • Antibiotics:
    • According to the type of infection and organism which are causing the infection.
    • Joint immobilization to control pain.
Get Free Online Consultation