Septic Arthritis and Infections of Bone


Joint is often affected with infections. Some result in painful condition while some are painless. Septic arthritis is a painful infection of joint. Immediate treatment is necessary to avoid worsening of symptoms. Different germs, viruses, and bacteria are responsible for causing joint infections.



Staphylococcus, the most common bacteria, is the main cause of septic arthritis of joints. A variety of ways exists for bacteria to enter a body. They include:

  • Infections from another source
  • Injury or trauma
  • Foreign objects
  • Surgery


Joints of hip, shoulder, knee, wrist and elbow are most often affected with septic arthritis. Different symptoms are felt in every child. The commonly seen symptoms include:

  • Severe joint pain and swelling
  • Fever
  • Limited movement of affected part
  • Warmth and redness around infected area
  • Headache, vomiting, and sore throat


The doctor will initially undergo certain tests to confirm the diagnosis of septic arthritis infection. These tests help to detect the type and source of infection. The different tests include:

  • Joint-fluid analysis
  • Blood-tests
  • Phlegm, urine, and spinal fluid tests
  • Bone scan
  • X-rays and MRI scan
  • Radionuclide scans.

Upon diagnosis, the following methods are used to treat septic arthritis:

  • Antibiotic Medications

    Immediately after diagnosis, proper medications are used to limit the symptoms. Veins act as the passage for injecting high dosage of drugs into the body. Afterwards, oral method of giving medications is used. Medications provide instant relief from symptoms. They are to be used continuously for several weeks for better results. Some side-effects such as vomiting, nausea, allergic reactions, and diarrhea are included with these drugs.
  • Joint fluid drainage

    For proper relief from symptoms, the infected fluid must be drained out from the infected joint. This prevents further damage to the joint. The different methods for draining fluid include:
  • Needle

    Use of needle is the easiest method to drain the infected fluid out of the body. Needles are injected into joint spaces of knee, shoulder or elbow.
  • Scope Procedure

    Arthroscopy method is sometimes used for fluid drainage. During arthroscopy, a tiny incision is made to insert a small tube into the affected joint. AT one end of the tube is placed a small video camera. This camera provides proper internal viewing. Afterwards, a suction and drainage tube is used to remove infected fluid.
  • Open Surgery

    The deeper joint infections require open surgery to clear out infected fluid. During the surgery, the infected fluid is drained out as many times until it is over. Joints of hips are most commonly treated by this method.
  • Splinting

    At initial stages, the pain due to septic arthritis is very high. So splinting the affected joints is essential.


The relief from pain is usually felt within 48hrs. The patient is advised to rest for 2-3 days. In addition to rest, applying heat or cold therapy is beneficial. Simple exercises such as walking, also result in proper healing.


The possible risks include:

  • Skin infection
  • Side-effects of medicines or drugs
  • Increased pain
  • Bleeding

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