ABC Medical Center > Septic arthritis

What is Septic arthritis?

21:53 - 4 May , 2021


It is an inflammatory process of the joints due to the action of a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection, which can start in another area of the body and spread the germs through the blood to the affected joint, causing intense pain and immobility.

Septic arthritis can also occur as a result of an injury, an accident, a dog bite, or as a side effect of surgery.

Those with a higher incidence of this condition are babies, older adults, and patients who have an artificial joint prosthesis.

The joints usually attacked by this condition are the hip, knee, and shoulder, being important to receive immediate treatment because the infection quickly affects the cartilage and bone tissue, for which it is required to be drained through a surgical procedure, in addition to receiving antibiotics.

Signs and symptoms Septic arthritis

In babies:

  • High fever.
  • Irritability.
  • Cries when you move or touch the affected joint.
  • Partial or total paralysis of the joint.

In children and adults:

  • High fever.
  • Joint suffering from severe pain.
  • Joint inflammatory process.
  • Reddened joint.
  • Partial or total paralysis of the joint.

Potential risks:

  • Chronic joint diseases such as gout, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Artificial joint prostheses.
  • Diabetes.
  • Intravenous drug addiction.
  • Drugs for rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
  • Depressed immune system.
  • Joint injuries.

Diagnosis and treatment Septic arthritis

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, he or she will perform a physical examination, perform blood and joint fluid tests, and take X-rays, MRI, and computed tomography to observe the damaged joint in detail.

When establishing the diagnosis, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics for the bacteria found and will drain the affected joint, extracting the contaminated synovial fluid through one of the following procedures, depending on the severity of your case:

  • Needle.
  • Arthroscopy.
  • Open surgery.

If it is due to an artificial joint prosthesis, you will have to undergo surgery to remove it and, once the infection has been eradicated, put on a new prosthesis.


  • Paizano VG, Araya OA, Chacón DMS. Artritis séptica. Revista Médica Sinergia. 2021;6(08):1-9.
  • Álvarez LA, Soto-Carrasco SR, García LYC. Artritis séptica de la rodilla. AMC. 2018;22(4):609-627.
  • Calvo A, Parra PKR, Navarrete FF, et al. Artritis séptica en paciente pediátrico. Salud Quintana Roo. 2021;14(45):37-41.
  • San Lee RL, Salazar HE, Herrera VK. Artroscopia de cadera método diagnóstico y tratamiento de artritis séptica: reporte de caso. Revista Médica Sinergia. 2020;5(10):1-19.

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