- What Is
- Related Resources
What is septic arthritis?
Septic arthritis (or infectious arthritis) is the infection of the joints caused by bacteria or viruses. This results in the inflammation of the synovial fluid that surrounds and lubricates the joints. Normally, the synovial fluid is free from microbes, but in septic arthritis, there may be a presence of microbes.
Septic arthritis usually affects single joints and can affect individuals of all ages. The complications of septic arthritis are as follows:
What is the treatment for septic arthritis?
Surgical drainage of the septic joint is the treatment for septic arthritis. Drainage method includes the following:
- Needle aspiration (removing the infectious discharge via a syringe)
- Tidal irrigation (repeated distention and irrigation of the joint with saline under local anesthesia through a needle)
- Arthroscopy (if the arthritis is longer than seven days)
- Arthrotomy (creating an opening in the joint that is used for drainage)
Indications for surgical drainage in patients are as follows:
- Purulent arthritis (pus-filled arthritis)
- Any underlying joint disease
- Failure to respond to antibiotics and multiple aspirations
- Septic arthritis affecting the shoulder
- Suppressed immunity
- Infection with an enlarged mass
How is surgical drainage performed?
- This technique involves a needle and syringe to drain the synovial fluid.
- The surgeon injects the needle to drain the synovial fluid.
- After draining the synovial fluid, it is analyzed to identify the presence of microbes.
- Needle aspiration can be useful as a treatment too.
- This procedure is useful in draining the fluid from the ankles.
- This technique involves inserting a special pencil-thin instrument through a key-hole incision.
- The surgeon may also use a tool known as an arthroscope that has a light and camera to view the joints.
- This procedure is useful in draining the fluid from the knees, ankles and shoulders.
- This technique involves the creation of an opening in a joint to drain the fluid. It is reserved for microbes deeply rooted in the joints.
- It is especially useful in draining the fluid from the shoulders and hips.
- Arthrotomy is the superior choice for septic arthritis of the shoulder.
What about recovery after surgical drainage?
The patient may experience some pain after the surgery, for which the physician prescribes pain medications. The physician may also prescribe blood thinners to prevent blood clots. The patient may require crutches or a splint for support during the recovery period.
In the recovery period from a surgical drainage, the patient should perform exercises to increase the flexibility and strength of the joint.
What are the complications of surgical drainage?
The major complication of surgical drainage is infection. Clearing the infection immediately is necessary to preserve the joints. Long-standing infection can lead to joint destruction.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Medscape Medical Reference
Top What Is the Treatment for Septic Arthritis Related Articles
14 Early Signs of Arthritis in the LegsLeg arthritis affects the joints of the hips, knees, ankles or feet. The early signs and symptoms of arthritis in the legs include pain, swelling, stiffness, decreased range of motion, trouble walking, fever, bump-like swelling and other symptoms.
Arthritis (Joint Inflammation)Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness and pain. There are over 100 types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, gout, and pseudogout.
Arthritis: 16 Bad Habits That Cause Joint PainBeing overweight, wearing uncomfortable shoes, or carrying a heavy purse can make joint pain and arthritis symptoms worse. Some bad habits increase inflammation and put you at risk of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Protect joints and muscles and prevent swelling and joint disorders by eliminating these joint problem bad habits.
Arthritis: Causes and Treatment for Joint Stiffness and PainArthritis and injuries can leave your joints swollen, tender, and damaged. Discover treatments for morning stiffness, sore joints, hip pain, and other conditions. Learn when it’s time to call a health care professional, as well as joint-friendly exercises that can bring pain relief and ease of movement for arthritis sufferers and others.
Physical and Occupational Therapy for ArthritisPhysical therapy can help a patient with arthritis to work out stiffness without damaging their joints. Occupational therapy teaches the patient how to reduce joint strain during daily activities. Those receiving occupational or physical therapy will learn about their arthritis, be given a dietary plan if they are overweight, get foot care advice, and learn methods of relieving discomfort.
GoutBuildup of uric acid crystals in a joint causes gouty arthritis. Symptoms and signs include joint pain, swelling, heat, and redness, typically of a single joint. Gout may be treated with diet and lifestyle changes, as well as medication.
OA of the Knee ExercisesLearn about osteoarthritis and exercises that relieve knee osteoarthritis pain, stiffness and strengthen the knee joint and surrounding muscles through this picture slideshow.
Osteoarthritis QuizHow does osteoarthritis differ from other types of arthritis? Learn about osteoarthritis with this quiz.
Psoriatic Arthritis PicturePsoriatic arthritis is a specific condition in which a person has both psoriasis and arthritis. See a picture of Psoriatic Arthritis and learn more about the health topic.
Psoriatic Arthritis SlidesPsoriatic arthritis pain can be treated. Get more information on the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and medications for psoriatic arthritis on the hands, feet nails, and elsewhere.
Psoriatic Arthritis QuizHow is psoriatic arthritis related to psoriasis? Take this quiz to find out!
16 Early Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Signs & SymptomsEarly rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms and signs vary differently from person to person. The most common body parts that are initially affected by RA include the small joints of the hands, wrists, and feet, and the knees and hip joints. Joint inflammation causes stiffness. Warmth, redness, and pain may vary in degree.
Septic ArthritisSeptic arthritis, or infectious arthritis, is infection of one or more joints by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Symptoms and signs of septic arthritis include fever, joint pain, chills, swelling, redness, warmth, and stiffness. Treatment involves antibiotics and the drainage of the infected joint.
Steroids: for the Treatment of ArthritisSteroids decrease inflammation and may be used to treat many inflammatory conditions and diseases, such as systemic vasculitis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Sjögren's syndrome. Steroids are injected, rather than administered orally, to deliver a high dose of medication to a specific area. Side effects of steroid injections include infection, tendon rupture, skin discoloration, allergic reaction, and weakening of bone, ligaments, and tendons.
What Is the Best Treatment for Arthritis?Arthritis refers to the inflammation of the joints. It presents as pain and swelling of the joints in the body. Painkillers, along with physical therapy, is usually considered the best treatment for arthritis in the early stages. Natural remedies and medications may also be used to treat arthritis, while surgery for arthritis is an option when a patient can't resume normal activities.
Which Foods Make Arthritis Worse?Certain foods can contribute to arthritis joint inflammation, like processed foods high in salt, alcohol, red meat and others. Foods that are good for the joints are beans, greens and other whole foods that have high fiber and nutrient content and low calories; these foods promote weight loss, which improves arthritis symptoms, and some may lower inflammation, generally.
Why Is Wrist Arthrocentesis Performed?Wrist arthrocentesis is a procedure to remove or aspirate fluid from the wrist joint through a needle for diagnostic and treatment purposes. Wrist arthrocentesis is performed in patients to reduce pain and swelling from the joint, inject medications at that joint, diagnose conditions related to pain, swelling and infection (septic arthritis, gout, arthritis, etc.), and remove the synovial fluid for diagnostic and treatment purposes.