While you may be familiar with rheumatic arthritis or osteoarthritis, the term septic arthritis is not heard very often. This clinical condition mainly affects babies and children but adults are not completely immune either.
This is caused due to a bacterial infection affecting one or more joints in the body. In very rare cases, even fungal microorganisms have been blamed for causing this condition. Septic arthritis is completely curable if treated within one week from the onset of bacterial infection. If left untreated it could cause unwanted compilations and even death in some individuals.
Signs And Symptoms Of Septic Arthritis
The affected individual will initially experience lethargy, fever and chills. This slowly advances into extreme inflammation and swelling in the affected joints. The hips, knees and shoulders are primarily susceptible. Wrists and ankles are also affected in some individuals.
Inflammation in the joints dramatically hinders the individual’s movement due to the extreme pain experienced in the region. Nausea, vomiting and redness in the affected region are also noticed. Children also complain of poor appetite, are extremely moody and get irritated very easily. In extremely rare cases, joints present in the spine and head can also be affected.
What Causes Septic Arthritis
The most common reason for septic arthritis could be an incidence of bacterial infection in the upper respiratory tract. These bacteria multiply quickly and spread to various parts of the body, ultimately attacking the joints. Other causes include urinary tract infections and viral infections.
These microorganisms infect the synovial fluid present in the spaces of two joints. In a healthy individual, this fluid is responsible for giving lubrication in between two joints, helping both the joints to move around freely without rubbing against each other. An infected synovial fluid will lead to further complications, increasing the swelling in the region. An increased swelling and inflammation in the affected area will add more amount of pressure on the joint, leading to sharp pain in the region.
Diagnosis For Septic Arthritis
Blood tests are performed to detect the presence of bacteria or infection in the circulatory system. A history of medical conditions and symptoms experienced by the child is also taken into consideration. An X-Ray can detect any type of damage to the joints. Examining the infected synovial fluid will immediately help the doctor to detect the presence of bacteria, allowing the doctor to give appropriate medications.
Treatment For Septic Arthritis
Prompt treatment is mandatory to prevent aggravation of the condition. Any delay in receiving the necessary medications will lead to permanent joint damage in the region and even death in some cases. Depending on the severity of the condition, appropriate medications are administered.
Antibiotics are the most common type of drugs given to prevent further growth and development of bacteria in the body. Pain therapy is administered to ease the condition and decrease the swelling. Excess liquid accumulation is drained out from the joints with the help of a needle to prevent aggravation. This process is called Arthrocentesis.
Fluid is removed on a daily basis until no more bacteria is found in the region. If fluid accumulation is found in the hip region, a surgery might be essential because needle surgeries are not very effective in places that are not easy to access like hips. A physiotherapist will help you in moving your joints slowly and steadily to prevent stiffness. This increases mobility in your joints.