Septic arthritis is caused when infectious microbes such as bacteria, virus, and fungi attack a particular joint. However, the main cause is bacterial. Blood plays the role of the infection carrier. Septic arthritis is usually characterized by severe joint pain, inflammation and redness. In extreme cases, fever and chillness are also seen. Though any of our joints are prone to this arthritic disorder, hip, shoulder, wrist, elbow and finger joints are the commonly affected parts. The disorder can affect either one or multiple joints. This kind of arthritis gets chronic within no time. Due to this reason, it needs to be diagnosed and treated at a very early stage.
Septic arthritis is commonly found in people who had joint injury, joint surgery or joint replacement. People who have a bacterial infection in their blood are also under serious threat. Bacteria get transferred from the original spot of infection to the joint space through blood. Septic arthritis is increasingly found in elderly people who have diabetes. Due to its infectious nature, this form of arthritis can easily affect those people whose immune system has been weakened.
Bacteria, such as Streptococcus pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, group B streptococci, or gonococci, usually cause the acute form of septic arthritis. Chronic form of septic arthritis is, however, rare and is caused by microbes such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Candida albicans. In certain cases, those microorganisms that cause diseases such as Hepatitis B and mumps can move into joints and cause septic arthritis. It is only on the basis of the precise diagnosis of the exact microorganism behind the infection that the treatment is decided. Anti-microbial therapy is usually administered based on the physical status of the concerned joint. Other than X-rays, laboratory tests such as blood culturing, test of other body fluids, joint fluid culturing, synovial fluid analysis and complete blood count helps in the precise diagnosis.