Pediatric Orthopedics

SEPTIC ARTHRITIS

Septic arthritis is an infection of a joint by a microorganism. Bacteria, viruses and fungi cab be the infective agent. Septic arthritis is seen  in single joints. However, involvement of one than more joint can be seen in case of immune system deficiency. In most Septic arthritis cases, the causative bacteria is staphylococcus aureus and Haemophilus influenza. Additionally, septic arthritis can occur with other bacteria.

Can  pain and swelling be indicative for joint  infection?

Especially in superficial joints like  knee and ankle; swelling, and redness can be visible in case of joint infection. The patient prefers to keep his/her joint in a position that intra-articular joint pressure is lowest. Patient may feel severe pain when the joint is moved passively.

Joint infection causes pain and swelling in joints, as well as increased body temperature and blood values. Pain and swelling can be seen with Rheumatic diseases, uric acid arthritis and other inflammatory cases too. Joint fluid aspiration is diagnostic in septic arthritis. Inspection of aspiration material as well as bacterial and white cell microscopic smear examination and sugar and protein content of the fluid and cell culture. Delayed diagnosis and treatment may lead to joint cartilage destruction. That is why early diagnosis is crucial.

How can one make the early treatment of septic arthritis?

The treatment consists of drainage of the joint as soon as possible. Arthroscopic surgical treatment of septic arthritis should be preferred when it is applicable. Drainage, and irrigation should be carried out several times till the joint fluid becomes clear. Adhesions must be excised as well.

About the author

Prof.Dr. Seref Aktas