Septic arthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by a bacterial infection. Most cases occur in infants or young children. In typical cases, the condition affects only one joint (most often the hip or knee). Symptoms may include severe pain within a joint, swelling in the affected joint, fever, chills, and cold sweats. Treatment involves antibiotics and draining the affected joint.
What Is Septic Arthritis?Infectious arthritis is a general term used to describe forms of arthritis that are caused by germs, such as bacteria or viruses. There are several different types of infectious arthritis. One of these types is septic arthritis, or arthritis caused by bacteria (see Infectious Arthritis to learn about other forms of infectious arthritis).
Septic arthritis is considered a medical emergency because without prompt treatment, the condition can cause permanent damage to the joints involved. It can also cause septic shock, which is a potentially fatal condition.
Septic arthritis is also known as:
- Pyogenic arthritis
- Bacterial arthritis.
Who Gets It?Anyone can get septic arthritis. However, most cases of septic arthritis involve infants or children younger than the age of three. Infants are most likely to develop this condition in the hip; children are most likely to develop it in the knee.
Septic arthritis has been estimated to occur in up to 10 people per 100,000 in the general population and in as many as 70 people per 100,000 in people with rheumatoid arthritis.