Arthritis is the medical name for the inflammation of the joints in the humans. Septic arthritis is an infection that affects the joints and it happens when bacteria and sometimes even fungi expand from some other area in the body to the joints. There are cases when bacteria only infect a joint and not the other areas in the body.
Septic arthritis generally involves just one joint when the infiltrated germs harm that joint, which further causes pain, swelling and warmth. The most frequently affected joint is knee, although the bacteria or fungi may also penetrate into the ankle, hip or elbow, as well as into the shoulder or wrist. Septic arthritis may affect any person regardless of the age and if it is treated once the symptoms emerge, it can be cured completely.
Symptoms of septic arthritis
When one finds it very difficult to use specific joint, it is the first sign of an infection. Furthermore, he/she may experience fever, swelling of the joint and the intense pain in the affected area. When he/she touches the painful and swollen joint, it is likely to be very warm. In cases when the children suffer from septic arthritis, they may experience several additional symptoms like loss of appetite and fast heart rate, also called tachycardia. Malaise and irritability are also very likely to appear in children with this condition. In the majority of cases, the knee is the joint that is mainly affected by septic arthritis while in children this condition usually affects the hip.
Causes of septic arthritis
One may develop septic arthritis when an infection from some other part in the body expands to the joint, for example, when one suffers from some urinary tract infection or from respiratory system infection that further expands via the bloodstream. There are cases, although few, when the bacteria reaches the joint through a puncture wound or through a drug injection.
Synovium is the medical name for the lining of the joints and when bacteria get to the lining, they penetrate very easily and then start damaging the cartilage. In most cases, the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus is responsible for the occurrence of septic arthritis. In the past, the bacteria that causes gonorrhea were also a causative factor for the incidence of the septic arthritis.
Septic arthritis may also be caused by viruses and not only by bacteria. Viral septic arthritis is less serious than bacterial septic arthritis since it tends to withdraw alone without any treatment and usually causes little damage to the joint.