What is infectious arthritis?
Arthritis is inflammation in a joint. There are many types of arthritis. Infectious arthritis is arthritis caused by a bacterial infection in a joint.
Your joint can get infected if another infection in your body spreads to the joint, or if your joint gets infected during surgery or from an injury
Usually only one large joint, such as your knee or shoulder, is affected
Your joint will be swollen, red, and sore, and you may have a fever
If left untreated, infectious arthritis can damage your joint
Doctors treat the infection with antibiotics and sometimes surgery to drain pus out of your joint
What causes infectious arthritis?
A joint can get infected from:
A cut, bite, or puncture wound over a joint
A skin infection close to a joint
Surgery on a joint
You're more likely to get infectious arthritis if you:
Use needles to inject street drugs
Have rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Arthritis is a group of diseases that makes your joints hurt, swell up, and turn red. There are many different types of arthritis. RA is a type of arthritis in which your body's immune system... read more , osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis (OA) Arthritis is a group of diseases that makes your joints hurt, swell up, and turn red. There are many different types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. In osteoarthritis... read more , or other joint problems
What are the symptoms of infectious arthritis?
A joint infection usually begins quickly. Your joint gets:
Red and warm
Swollen and stiff
Sometimes, you get fever and chills.
In infants and children too young to talk, it can be hard to tell what's bothering them, but symptoms may include:
Not moving the infected joint
Refusing to eat
Refusing to walk if the infected joint is in a leg
How can doctors tell if I have infectious arthritis?
Take a sample of fluid out of your joint with a needle to do tests
To tell what caused your joint infection, doctors may do:
Spinal fluid and urine tests
X-rays Plain X-Rays A plain x-ray is an imaging test that takes a picture of the inside of your body. It uses a low dose of x-ray radiation. X-rays show body parts according to how dense (solid) they are. Doctors... read more , MRI Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) MRI is a test that uses a machine with a powerful magnet to make pictures of the inside of your body. A computer records changes in the magnetic field around your body. The computer then uses... read more , or ultrasound Ultrasonography Ultrasonography is a safe imaging test that uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the insides of your body. Ultrasonography doesn't use radiation (x-rays). Ultrasonography is also called... read more of the joint
How do doctors treat infectious arthritis?
Doctors treat infectious arthritis with:
Antibiotics or antifungal medicine
Taking the pus out of your joint with a needle or, sometimes, surgery
A splint on the joint, followed by physical therapy
Over-the-counter pain medicine, such as aspirin or ibuprofen
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