Symptoms of Septic ArthritisSeptic arthritis symptoms (along with their severity) can vary depending on a number of factors, including:
- The age of the person
- The joint or joints involved
- The type of bacteria causing the condition
- Other conditions the person may have.
Specific symptoms may include:
- Severe pain within a joint. For septic arthritis in the hip, pain may be referred to the buttock, thigh, or knee
- Swollen and/or hot joint
- Decreased movement of the joint
- A noticeable limp
- Other common symptoms consistent with a bacterial infection, such as fever, cold sweats, chills, extreme tiredness, and lack of appetite. In infants, irritability may be a symptom of septic arthritis.
(Click Septic Arthritis Symptoms to learn more about symptoms of septic arthritis, including which joints tend to be affected.)
Making a DiagnosisThere is no one specific test that can be used for diagnosing septic arthritis. Therefore, in order to make a diagnosis of septic arthritis, the healthcare provider will usually ask a number of questions, perform a physical exam, and recommend certain tests.
Tests that your healthcare provider may recommend include:
- X-rays or other imaging tests
- Synovial fluid testing
- Spinal tap.
Before making a diagnosis, the healthcare provider will also consider other conditions that share a number of symptoms with septic arthritis. Some of these conditions include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
- Septic bursitis
- Gout (gouty arthritis)
- Other types of infectious arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Rheumatic fever
- Reactive arthritis (Reiter's syndrome)
- Psoriatic arthritis.
(Click Diagnosing Septic Arthritis for more information.)