Veterinarian Reviewed on January 9, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
Septic arthritis also known as acute infectious arthritis and is a condition where bacteria or other microorganisms attack the joints thereby causing an infection and subsequent inflammation. Typically, these infections are seen in the joints that are more prone to physical damage or injury such as the hand, leg, and feet. However, larger weight bearing joints like the hips, buttocks, and knees have an elevated risk of acquiring septic arthritis.
There are an ample of infectious bacteria that can cause septic arthritis such as haemophilus, streptococcus, gonococcus, and staphylococcus. Most of the time, these infectious bacteria will start the infection on other body parts and will then gradually spread to the joints, just like with gonorrhea and tuberculosis infections. Septic arthritis can likewise be seen in bone infections and skin infections such as cellulites that occurs near the joints. Having an injury to the joint, a skin trauma, or puncture wound, can allow the infectious bacteria to enter and invade the joint space and start an infection.
Symptoms of Septic Arthritis
Among the most typical symptoms of septic arthritis are often seen in the infected joint, as the affected joint area will appear to be swollen, painful, red, and sensitive to the touch. Moving or applying pressure to the infected joint will be extremely painful. Septic arthritis infections are likewise accompanied by digestive issues and a fever, as this type of arthritis can occur regardless of a person’s age or gender. Although the pain is mostly isolated to the infected joint, it is not uncommon for the pain to extend to nearby joints as well. Aside from the pain and swelling, people with this joint condition will find it disabling and debilitating.
People who have acquired an STD or sexually transmitted disease are more prone to acquire a septic arthritis infection. Trauma to the skin, a puncture wound, or any other form of injury that breaks the skin surface including medical procedures such as surgeries are likewise at risk since infectious bacteria can enter and attack the joint. People with poor or impaired immune systems, especially those that have HIV or those on a medication for their immune system have a much higher risk factor. In addition, people that have certain illnesses such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis are also at risk of acquiring septic arthritis.
Treatments are available for septic arthritis which usually involves using antibiotics. For more severe cases, the infected joint will need to be splinted and cast, but this will only be done if it’s really necessary. Preventing the joint from moving temporarily will greatly help the joint to heal properly. A medical professional is needed to properly assess and diagnose the condition of the infection. Blood test and cultures, fluid test found in the joints, and X-rays are essential to complete the diagnosis.
Joint infections are not easy to manage and most often will require more time to treat or cure it. It is fairly common to take months for a complete recovery in the infection. If the joint infection is not properly treated, it is more likely that the joint will be permanently unusable or damaged. In larger weight bearing joints such as the hip or knees, the possibility of a surgery for a joint replacement will be essential and necessary if septic arthritis is left untreated.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan