Also referred to as septic arthritis, infectious arthritis is an infection in a joint. The condition is caused when an infection caused by a virus or bacteria spreads to joints or the synovial fluid surrounding them. Mostly starting at some other point in the body, the infection slowly spreads to the joint tissue through the bloodstream. Injections, surgery, or open wounds could also cause infection in our body.
Infectious arthritis is more prevalent in children, people using illegal drugs, and elders. The condition is mostly limited to one joint (knee, hip, shoulder).
What Are The Symptoms Of Infectious Arthritis?
Your age and the medications you are currently taking can influence the symptoms of infectious arthritis. The symptoms of the condition include:
- Extreme pain that limits the ease of movement
- Swelling in the joints
- Reduced appetite
- Increased heart rate
- Diagnosis of infectious arthritis
When you consult with your doctor, he/she will initially examine your joint and ask you about the symptoms that you experience. In case the doctor suspects that you have infectious arthritis, they will ask you to take additional tests for confirmation.
Arthrocentesis is the most common diagnostic test used when it comes to infectious arthritis. In the test, a sample of synovial fluid is collected from the affected joint and sent to the lab. The sample’s consistency, color, and presence of bacteria and WBCs are all analyzed to find out if the joint is infected and the cause of the infection.
Doctors may also collect a blood sample to evaluate the WBC count and presence of bacteria. The results help doctors evaluate the severity of the infection.
Imaging tests are also used to find out infection in a joint. The common imaging tests employed for the same include:
- MRI scans
- X rays
- CT scans
- Nuclear scans
What Are The Risk Factors Of Infectious Arthritis?
The risk of developing infectious arthritis is more in some people than in others. The common risk factors are:
- Existing joint problems like gout, arthritis, or lupus
- A history of joint surgery
- open wounds
- drug abuse
- Use of immunosuppressant drugs
- Weak immune system
Infectious arthritis is treated using antibiotics or antifungal medications. It depends on the causative organism of the infection. Antibiotics are given if the infection is caused by bacteria, and antifungal medications are given if the infection is caused by fungus.