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SEPTIC ARTHRITIS

The Facts Put Simply






.
Learn About Septic Arthritis and Equip Yourself To Fight Back!

Subject matter Quick Links for this page…

1) What Is Septic Arthritis?
2) Septic Arthritis Facts
3) Who is at risk to get Septic Arthritis?
4) Causes of Septic Arthritis
5) Symptoms of Septic Arthritis
6) What can you do to prevent Septic Arthritis?
7) What can you do to combat Septic Arthritis?


What Is Septic arthritis?

Septic arthritis (Non-gonococcal bacterial arthritis) results from the infection of joint (synovial) fluid and joint tissues which is caused by bacterial invasion. Its onset is rapid and causes high levels of pain and swelling in the affected joint.










The infection typically reaches the joint through the bloodstream. In some instances the joints may become infected due to an injection, surgery, or injury.









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Septic Arthritis facts:

• Infectious arthritis can occur suddenly or in some cases, the condition may take up to two weeks before symptoms appear
• There are a number of different bacteria, fungi and viruses that can infect a joint
• Ear infections are the most common source of the bacteria that causes septic arthritis
• A person's age will have a bearing on which type of bacteria they are more likely to contract
• Most cases (about 80 percent) of septic arthritis involve only one joint
• Generally, the joint inflammation lasts no more than one to two weeks
• In approximately half of the cases the knee joint is infected
• The most prevalent sites of infection include the following: o knee
o hip
o ankle
o elbow
o wrist
o shoulder
o pelvis

• Is highly curable if treated promptly and appropriately
• May result in serious joint damage and can spread to other parts of the body if not treated adequately
• All age groups, including newborns and children, are subject to contracting infectious arthritis
• It is not contagious
• People over 60 and people with certain health or joint problems are at a higher risk
• Can easily be mistaken for a Gout attack and vice-versa
• Fungi are the least common cause of infectious arthritis and these cases usually develop very slowly. Fungi of concern are often found in soil, bird droppings, and certain plants such as roses.
• Recovery from septic arthritis is usually good with most patients undergoing treatment, although many patients will develop osteoarthritis or deformed joints.
• Is considered a medical emergency because of the damage it causes to bone as well as cartilage, and its potential for creating septic shock, which is a potentially fatal condition.
• Other diseases often associated with septic arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, cancer, sickle cell disease, anemia, lupus, liver disease, skin infections, and hemophilia







Osteomyelitis, which is an acute or chronic bone infection, can result from the bacteria that causes Septic Arthritis.








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Who is at risk to get Septic arthritis?

• Anyone can get infectious arthritis
• People who have a suppressed immune system caused by other diseases such as diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), intravenous drug abuse, alcoholism, sickle cell anaemia, or severe kidney disease have an elevated risk
• People who have jobs involving contact with animals, plants, soil, or marine life are at greater risk
• Although small (less than 1%), artificial joints and recent joint surgery or arthrocentesis (inserting needles into the joint) increase the risk
• The biggest risk factor related to contracting septic arthritis is advanced age. Approximately 50% of the cases occur in people over the age of 60. With these patients, approximately 75% of the infections occur in joints that have previously been affected by arthritis - especially the hips, knees, and shoulders.
• Chicken farmers and gardeners are particularly susceptible to the Fungal version of this infection
• Patients with artificial (prosthetic) joints are at increased risk
• Typically women and male homosexuals are at greater risk than are male heterosexuals
• In children, it occurs most often in those less than 3 years old
• Septic arthritis is uncommon from age 3 to adolescence, at which time the incidence increases again

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Causes of Septic arthritis

• Septic arthritis is caused by a bacterial infection in a joint
• Bacteria can get into a joint in many ways.
o A cut that goes into the joint
o Surgery on the joint
o Via a needle that is placed into the joint to either remove synovial fluid for testing or to inject medications into the joint
o From infections in the skin around the joint
o Infections in the bones around the joint
o The bacteria can also be carried by the blood from an area of infection somewhere else in the body

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Symptoms of Septic arthritis

• Moderate to intense joint pain
• Joint swelling and tenderness
• Joint is warm and red to the touch
• Limited ability to use the limb
• Low-grade fever
• Flu-like symptoms, vomiting, whole body achiness, sore throat, headache and chills are present in less frequesnt cases

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What can you do to prevent Septic arthritis?

• Do not engage in high risk activities such as intravenous drug use
• Avoid introducing foreign objects, materials and chemicals into the body and specifically into the joint area
• Preventive antibiotics may be helpful for high-risk people such as joint replacement recipients
• Maintain a strong body and healthy immune system
• Patients receiving corticosteroid injections into the joints for osteoarthritis may want to weigh this treatment method against the increased risk of septic arthritis.

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What can you do to combat Septic arthritis?

• Of primary importance is how soon you get treatment. The sooner the diagnosis the better the chance for a complete recovery with no long term joint damage.
• Antibiotic therapy is often initiated to eliminate the infection
• Severe cases may require surgery to drain the infected joint fluid
• Protect the area from further injury
• Rest
• Immobilize
• Compress – apply a warm compress to relieve pain
• Elevate to minimize swelling
• Exercising the affected joint aids the recovery process
• Fungal infections will need to be treated with anti-fungal medications
• Viral infections usually have to run their course and rarely need treatment
• To prevent accumulation of pus from the infection, which can damage the joint, pus may be drained with a needle, tube, or surgery.
• Surgery may be necessary in joints where the infection is difficult to control or if bone infection results

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