Infectious arthritis is also known as septic arthritis. It is an infection in a joint. It is caused by a viral or bacterial infection that spreads to a joint or the synovial fluid around that joint. Large joints of the knee, shoulder, and hip are usually affected by infectious arthritis. Infectious arthritis mostly occurs in a single joint. Continue reading to stay informed about this health condition.
What Are The Symptoms Of Infectious Arthritis?
The symptoms of septic arthritis are influenced by various factors including your age and the medications you are already taking. The commonly reported symptoms of the condition include:
- Swelling of the joint
- Redness of the joint
- An excruciating pain that becomes worse with movement
- Rapid heart rate
- Decreased appetite
What Are The Risk Factors Associated With Infectious Arthritis?
Some people are at higher risk of developing infectious arthritis than others. A few risk factors are:
- Preexistent joint conditions like gout, arthritis, or lupus
- Having certain skin conditions
- History of joint surgery
- Having cancer
- Taking immunosuppressant drugs
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Having open wounds
What Methods Are Used To Diagnose Infectious Arthritis?
Your doctor will conduct a rough examination of your joint and enquire about your symptoms. You will have to undergo additional tests if they think you could have infectious arthritis. A commonly used test to diagnose infectious arthritis is arthrocentesis. In this test, a needle is inserted into the affected joint to take a sample of synovial fluid. This sample is then sent to the lab for further examinations. It is closely examined for understanding the consistency, color, white blood cells, and bacteria. The results of the test can help a doctor conclude whether you have an infection in the joint and find out its cause.
You may also be asked to undergo a blood test that determines if there is a presence of bacteria in your bloodstream by checking the white blood cell count. The severity of the infection can be determined using this information. The following imaging tests can be used to confirm if a joint is infected:
- Nuclear scans
- CT scans
- MRI scans
The medications used to treat infectious arthritis depend on the micro-organism that is causing the infection. If the condition is caused by bacteria, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. If the infection is caused by a fungus, you will be asked to take appropriate antifungal medication. Now that you have a rough idea about the condition and its symptoms, don’t wait until it is too late to get yourself examined.