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General Practice 2023

Séptica arthritis: what é, main symptoms and treatment

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Séptica arthritis: what é, main symptoms and treatment
Séptica arthritis: what é, main symptoms and treatment

Septic arthritis is an infection of a joint caused by bacteria that can appear after surgery, due to an injury near or far from the joint, or as a consequence of an infection elsewhere in the body, such as an infection urinary tract or in a wound present on the skin.

The most affected sites in septic arthritis are the knee and hip joints, but it can occur in any other joint in the body.

Septic arthritis is curable and its treatment should be started in the hospital with the use of antibiotics directly into the vein, as well as drainage of the joint with a needle. After that, treatment should be continued through physical therapy to regain joint movement and prevent pain.


Main symptoms

The main symptom that can indicate septic arthritis is the inability to move the joint, but other symptoms that can also appear are:

  • Intense pain when moving the affected limb;
  • Swelling and redness in the joint;
  • Fever above 38ยบ C;
  • Joint burning sensation.

Septic arthritis leads to progressive degeneration of the joint and, as a result, can result in its destruction, especially if the infection is not identified in time and treated correctly.

Symptoms of septic arthritis are more common in children and the elderly with infected wounds near joints, and are also more common in patients with autoimmune diseases or pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or cancer.

The most affected joints are the knee and hip joints, the latter being very serious when it happens in children, as development may be compromised. Learn how to identify septic arthritis in the hip.

How to confirm the diagnosis

The diagnosis of septic arthritis must be made by the orthopedist and is usually based on the person's symptoms and clinical history.

However, many times, the doctor will also order some tests, especially X-ray, blood test and joint puncture, in which a sample of joint fluid is taken to be analyzed in the laboratory. This analysis allows us to know the type of microorganism that is causing the infection and allows us to better guide the treatment.

How the treatment is done

Septic arthritis is considered an emergency and, therefore, if there is a suspicion of this type of infection, it is very important to go to the hospital quickly. Treatment for septic arthritis is started while you are admitted to the hospital for necessary tests and pain medication. After the test results, antibiotics are given into the vein to help fight the infection.

Usually, hospitalization is maintained until symptoms improve, but usually the person needs to keep the antibiotic use at home, for the time indicated by the doctor, to ensure that all bacteria are eliminated.

Physiotherapy for Septic Arthritis

During the treatment, as the person improves, the doctor may recommend physical therapy so that exercises are started with the aim of recovering the movements of the affected limb. These exercises should be continued until joint motion has returned to normal, or as close as possible.

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