Infectious Arthritis – Symptoms & Treatment

Infectious Arthritis

Septic arthritis, often known as infectious arthritis, is characterized by a rapid, serious infection of a joint. It requires urgent treatment since it can result in excruciating pain, swelling, a fever, and tissue damage.

Infectious Arthritis

When an infection spreads to one or more of your joints and produces inflammation, it results in septic arthritis or infectious arthritis. The synovial fluid that lubricates your joints and the surface of the cartilage, a kind of connective tissue, that lines them both have inflammation.

The infection, which often originates from another area of your body and travels to your joint through your blood, arises due to bacteria, a virus, or a fungus. Although large joints like the hip and knee are more frequently impacted, septic arthritis can also affect smaller joints including the shoulder and ankle.

Symptoms of Infectious Arthritis

  • You feel discomfort and sensitivity in the hurt joint.
  • Experiencing warmth and swelling at the afflicted joint.
  • Having a joint that is afflicted with a restricted range of motion.
  • Inability to move or utilize the injured joint.
  • Getting a fever.


There are several kinds of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that can infect a joint. Septic arthritis can result in several forms, including:

  • Staphylococci: These are typical microorganisms that frequently cause skin infections.
  • Haemophilus influenzae: These microorganisms have the potential to infect the bronchi, trachea, and larynx.
  • Gram-negative bacilli: E. coli belongs to this category of bacteria.
  • Streptococci: There are several illnesses that arise due to this particular bacterial group.
  • Gonococci: This bacterium is the one that causes gonorrhea.
  • Viruses: All ages of people are susceptible to viruses like HIV infecting their joints.


A doctor prescribes the following tests to carry out to identify infectious arthritis:

  • Synovial fluid aspiration: Your doctor could use a tiny needle to remove fluid from the joint that’s hurting in order to screen for germs. Aspiration is the term for this.
  • Blood tests: To determine if your body is fighting off an infection and/or to rule out other potential problems, your doctor may have you undergo blood testing.
  • X-rays: X-rays utilize radiation to create pictures of your bones. Widening joint gaps and soft tissue swelling on X-rays may be indicators of septic arthritis.
  • Ultrasound: In order to obtain photographs within your body, ultrasound employs sound waves. Also, your doctor can use an ultrasound to assess how swollen your joint is and to observe the joint fluid when they aspirate it.
  • MRI: A huge magnet, radio waves, and a computer are used in an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to create precise pictures of your organs and bones. Also, an MRI may discover early instances of septic arthritis.



In most cases, surgery to remove the inflammatory tissue and intravenous (IV) antibiotics will be necessary.


Antibiotics are essential for the treatment of all infectious arthritis patients. Thus, you could receive antibiotics orally or intravenously from your doctor.

Joint Fluid Drainage

Your doctor could use a tiny needle to remove (aspirate) fluid from your joint. As you recuperate, they might have to repeat this process.

Physical Therapy

Physical treatment will probably be crucial to restore your joint’s functionality. Also, it stops the surrounding muscles from deteriorating.

Removal of an Artificial Joint

You will probably need to have your artificial joint removed and replaced with a joint spacer; if you develop septic arthritis in an artificial (prosthetic) joint. A joint spacer is a piece of equipment that comprises antibiotic cement. Moreover, your artificial joint will be changed by your healthcare professional after many months.

The Bottom Line

A severe illness – infectious arthritis can harm bones and tissues permanently. Although viral and fungal infections can also be to blame, bacterial infections are the most frequent culprits. Symptoms of viral arthritis include rapid swelling, excruciating pain, feeling dizzy, and exhaustion. An individual’s prognosis for septic arthritis can considerably improve with prompt and intensive treatment, including IV antibiotics. Also, a person may achieve a full recovery with no permanent impairment if therapy starts in a timely manner.