Septic arthritis: symptoms and causes

Septic arthritis is a special type of arthritis. It is also called infectious arthritis. Consists of the inflammation of a joint by an infection. Said infection can be of bacterial, viral or fungal origin.

Infections can cause arthritis either directly or indirectly. When it is directly, the infectious agent is in the joint. However, in most cases, the infection begins in another area of ​​the body. Travel through the bloodstream to the joint.

Septic arthritis It can cause serious consequences in the articulation. In this article we explain what it is. Keep reading!

Causes of septic arthritis

Septic arthritis occurs when pathogenic organisms access the joint. As we have already mentioned, the most common is to access through the bloodstream. However, it can also happen that the joint is directly affected. This can occur from an injury or surgery. There are a series of situations that increase the risk of suffering it:

  • Bacterial infection in another part of the body.
  • Bacteremia: the presence of bacteria in the blood.
  • Joint surgery, for example, to implant prosthesis.
  • Chronic diseases such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. The medicines that are used for them can inhibit the immune system. Therefore, they tend to cause infections.
  • People who use drugs intravenously.
  • Arthroscopies
  • Trauma
  • Diseases of the skin Psoriasis and eczema increase the risk.

It is important to note that Most cases are caused by bacteria. Staphylococci and streptococci stand out. It can be observed at any age. However, it occurs more frequently in infants. Mainly, the hip or knee is affected.

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The symptoms vary according to the type of infection. Bacterial infections usually affect only one joint. Typically they occur in the knee or hip. Any movement of this joint is very painful. The symptoms usually manifest quickly. In addition, they are often accompanied by fever and chills.

When it comes to a viral infection, symptoms usually occur gradually. They cause generalized joint pain, rather than a single joint. Mycotic infections are much less common. The symptoms are mainly:

  • In the baby, crying occurs when moving the joint. They may also have fever and irritability.
  • Intense joint pain.
  • Redness and inflammation
  • Febrícula.
  • Pseudoparalysis
  • Shaking chills.

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It is important to make a good medical history. In addition, a complete physical examination must be carried out. The specific symptoms can guide the diagnosis. For example, arthritis due to a gonococcal infection usually also presents genital secretion. Finding out if the patient has suffered another recent infection is essential.

First, they are made blood test. You can also take fluid samples from the joints. With it, an analysis is performed under the microscope and a culture. In this way, you can determine if there is an infection, and identify the bacteria if necessary.

In addition, an x-ray of the affected joint can be obtained. X-rays and others diagnostic tests by image They can help assess the damage.

Treatment of septic arthritis

To treat septic arthritis the joint is usually drained. If it is a bacterial infection, antibiotic medications are used.

For choose the antibiotic It is necessary to know which is the bacterium that causes the infection. They can be administered orally or intravenously. The patient's age and medical history must also be taken into account. When it comes to a viral infection, specific treatments are usually not administered.

In addition, it is recommended to relieve pain repose. It is also advisable to apply cold compresses. Medicines are usually administered anti-inflammatory and analgesic.

How the joint is drained

For it a needle is used that is inserted into the synovial space. It can be done by arthroscopy or by open surgery. In the case of the hip, it is more difficult to perform the needle procedure. Therefore, surgery is usually used.

In conclusion

It is important to know that septic arthritis affects more often infants and immunosuppressed people. Therefore, we must be even more alert in these conditions. It is necessary to consult the doctor if the joint hurts, or is inflamed.