In this article, we are going to talk about septic arthritis. This is an introduction and overview. It is important to rule out septic arthritis as this can cause irreversible damage to the joint.


Silent symptoms of septic arthritis include:

  • Fever
  • Monoarthritis (which means one inflamed joint)
  • Inflammation of the joint is characterized by warmth, redness, effusion, pain, decreased function, or range of movement.


The person presenting with an inflamed joint requires a thorough history and examination for septic arthritis the main causative agent include Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, Group A streptococcus, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (which is a sexually transmitted bacteria).


The pathogenesis of septic arthritis is an inflamed joint a skin infection such as from staphylococcus aureus can spread into the joint causing septic arthritis osteomyelitis which is inflammation fiction of the bone marrow usually caused by staphylococcus aureus again can locally invade the joint causing septic arthritis.

Upper respiratory tract infections or lower respiratory tract infections from Group A streptococcus can hematogenous go-to bone closing osteomyelitis which then can lead to septic arthritis.

Procedures such as injections to the joint space can introduce bacteria into the joint causing septic arthritis.

Further, it’s important to consider surgery as a cause of septic arthritis during surgery bacteria may enter the joint from the skin or from aseptic techniques.



Investigations to be performed in a person presenting with monoarthritis include a full blood count c-reactive protein, ESR (to check for signs of inflammation and infection).

Joint aspiration is usually indicated for any mono arthritic presentation.

The joint aspiration will also need to be cultured in microscopy culture and sensitivity. It’s important to also do blood cultures if you suspect systemic infections or bacteremia also perform electrolyte urea creatinine and glucose.

Finally, imaging including ultrasound and x-ray can also be done. An X-ray may reveal dislocation of the joint and there is joint space widening because of the swelling and inflammation occurring within the joint itself.

After performing the investigations notably cultures and joint aspiration administration of broad-spectrum antibiotics is a priority.

Surgical emergency is needed involving joint drainage usually joint aspiration arthroscopic drainage or open drainage.



For more information talk to a healthcare provider.

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