Septic Arthritis is a disease of the joints. All the joints in the body contain synovial fluid, which is a jelly like substance that functions as a lubricant. This fluid becomes an ideal location for bacterial and viral attacks. When a disease-causing microbe attacks any of the joints, it may lead to the formation of sepsis, which is a painful condition. This painful infection of the joints is medically referred to as Septic Arthritis.
Possible causes of septic arthritis.
Generally, Septic Arthritis starts with some joint injury. The condition is completely curable with antibiotics, and proper care. But there is a complicated variant of septic arthritis. This variant is caused by pathogens that are actually responsible for other primary illnesses. The pathogens causing an illness can eventually affect the joints as well. This secondary infection hampers the body’s movement because joints start hurting. Therefore, it is essential that the primary infection should be treated quickly.
Symptoms of septic arthritis
Septic arthritis symptoms are similar to many other infections. The patient suffers with high fever, severe chills, joint stiffness, and general weakness. In addition to these, there is swelling and redness at the joint that is tender to touch. The joint feels warmer when compared to the surrounding tissue. Uncontrolled fever, chills and stiffness of the joints are characteristic symptoms of septic arthritis.
How is septic arthritis diagnosed?
Diagnostic tests for septic arthritis start with complete blood count or CBC. In this, the Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) is crucial information. Increased levels of Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate, (ESR) generally indicate the invasion of microbes in the body. Apart from the blood tests, an analysis of the synovial fluid (lubricating fluid of the joints) can be done by taking a sample with a needle, from an affected joint. Under laboratory conditions, this sample of synovial fluid is subjected to culture and sensitivity tests. Effectively, these tests enable the pathologists to identify the specific bacteria, viruses, or fungi responsible for the septic arthritis
How is septic arthritis treated?
Following the diagnostic tests, the physician begins treating the patient with antibiotics known to be effective against the pathogens causing the sepsis. The correct antibiotic can be found by doing the culture and sensitivity test. Antibiotics for Septic Arthritis are usually given in combination; the patient may be injected with medication, and also asked to take oral antibiotics. Apart from the antibiotics that control the microbes in the synovial fluid, the patient is also given pain medications, and medication to control fever.
Septic arthritis is a secondary infection caused by disease causing microorganisms and microbes, which enter the fluids of the joints. So, if an infection is detected in the body and treated timely, the joint infection can be controlled with the same medication. If an injury due to accidents is involved, disease causing bacteria enter into the blood stream and into the joints through the wound. Periodical dressing of the wounds using topical antibiotic preparations can help to control microbe invasion and possibly prevent the onset of septic arthritis.