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Septic arthritis is a condition that affects the joints and is mainly caused by bacterial or viral infection. The primary symptom of septic arthritis is inflammation of the joints, with the knee and hips being the most affected areas. However, more than one bone can show symptoms. Septic arthritis is a treatable condition, and most patients recover fully after undergoing the appropriate treatment. If left untreated, septic arthritis can progress and lead to permanent damage. If you notice any symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. Find out the symptoms, causes, and treatments for septic arthritis.  

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Fever

A Fever is one of the characteristic signs of septic arthritis, and the body’s most important response to the presence of infectious bacteria or viruses. Fever is beneficial in so far as it helps the body to get rid of infections naturally; however, you should carefully monitor body temperature to ensure it does not exceed safe limits. Symptoms such as chills and stiffness often accompany fevers. If you come up with a fever, drink plenty of water and get enough rest so your body can fight off infection.

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Chills

Besides fever, one of the critical warning signs of septic arthritis that you should look out for is chills. Chills refer to a feeling of cold as well as shivering, which usually indicate a rise in body temperature. However, in some cases, chills can occur without fever. If you witness the development of septic arthritis symptoms, contact your doctor as soon as possible. He or she will proceed by identifying the infected joint fluid; this way the type of arthritis can be ascertained. To help make you feel more comfortable, you can wrap yourself in warm blankets to help reduce coldness.

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Joint Pain

As with most types of arthritis, joint pain is a more than prominent symptom. Because microorganisms cause this condition, a variety of infections can occur. In almost all of them, joint pain can lead to difficulty moving, especially because movement worsens pain. The most commonly affected joints include large joints, such as the knees, ankles, and the elbows. However, several microbes can also lead to infections in atypical joints. The best way to treat joint pain is by addressing the cause of disease, often by antibiotics. Reducing movement can also help to ease the pain as well as other related symptoms.

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Stiffness

Septic arthritis can be detected in many ways, one of which is joint stiffness. Stiffness can affect muscles, bones, and joints, and it refers to the sensation of difficulty moving different parts of the body. Therefore, rigidity leads to a reduced range of motion. Although arthritis is the most frequent cause of stiffness, it may also be caused by a variety of other diseases. If you are taking immunosuppressive medication, your risk of developing septic arthritis is higher. Moreover, a history of joint disease, as well as diabetes, can increase your chances of getting septic arthritis.

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Bacteria

Infections of a bacterial nature are the most common cause of septic arthritis. Even though virus and fungi can also cause the condition to develop, bacterial infections are predominant. The Staphylococcus aureus - also known as staph -, as well as Haemophilus influenza, are the most frequently noted bacterial infections. However, E.coli and other rarer infections can also result in septic arthritis. People belonging to risk groups - such as sexually active individuals as well as the elderly - experience increased likelihood of certain bacterial infections. The best way to reduce infection is by taking precautions and reducing risky activities.

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Viruses

Viruses are amongst the most common causes of septic arthritis. A range of different illnesses can cause such infections; even so, there are some that stand out in their ability to inflict damage. Primary viral infections include hepatitis A, B as well as C. The herpes virus, as well as HIV, are also known to cause septic arthritis. Viruses can lead to septic arthritis because an infection in some part of the body finds its way through the bloodstream, thus affecting other joints of the body. People with weakened immune systems as well as other diseases need to be especially wary of symptoms.

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Fungi

Aside from bacterial and viral infections, fungi can also cause septic arthritis to develop. The treatment of fungi-caused septic arthritis can be difficult, especially when combined with factors such as immunodeficiency. When it comes to fungi, infections occur most frequently as a result of Candida and Aspergillus, ubiquitous in soil environments. Humans are the perfect means of propagation. Unfortunately, due to the scarcity of fungal infections, it can initially be difficult to produce a precise diagnosis as to the cause of infection. However, with the right treatment, the condition is manageable.

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Fluid Drainage

The starting point for many septic arthritis patients is fluid drainage from the affected joints. This type of treatment involves the use of a needle to drain the synovial fluid from the joints, cleaning the area and helping to ease pain and swelling. The most successful treatments work in conjunction with antibiotics. Fluid drainage is especially important because, without it, the condition can quickly worsen and lead to irreparable damage. Elderly patients are at high risk of developing septic arthritis due to preexisting diseases and infections. As such, special precautions are recommended to reduce the risk of infection.

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Antibiotics

Another highly effective treatment of septic arthritis is antibiotics, which are important because they aid the body in getting rid of infections. The best outcome occurs when antibiotics are given early on. Antibiotics can be administered intravenously or in tablet form, but the choice of medication depends on each infection. Antibiotics can also be given together with other medicines. Normal antibiotic treatment is usually taken for four to six weeks. If possible, antibiotics may be given on an outpatient basis, therefore lessening the need for hospital stays. Consult your doctor to see which treatment is ideal for you.

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Arthroscopy

An arthroscopy may constitute an adequate form of treatment for some individuals. This option uses a particular instrument to irrigate the joint, thus removing infected tissue and material. This can cause significant important regarding symptoms, reducing things like pain, swelling, and stiffness. However, arthroscopy will not work in all cases, meaning that open joint surgery may be necessary. Before an operation is carried out, a thorough examination of the patient's health and the general physical condition is done to check for suitability. Arthroscopy is an excellent treatment because it is minimally invasive compared to other alternatives.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.