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Symptoms. Infectious arthritis

By Editorial Team (A)
November 29, 2021

Septic arthritis symptoms

The signs and symptoms of septic arthritis can vary depending on different factors. The last include the age and overall health of the patient and what medications they are taking. Typical signs and symptoms may include:

  • Extreme pain in the affected joint that worsens with movement
  • Redness, swelling, and increased warmth of the affected joint
  • Immobility and loss of function of the affected joint
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Weakness and fatigue

Septic arthritis diagnostics

Your physician will start by examining the affected joint and by taking a history of your symptoms. If septic arthritis is suspected, the doctor may order more tests to ensure you receive the appropriate treatment.

One test that is frequently done to diagnose septic arthritis is arthrocentesis. Doctors order this test to determine whether an infection is present in the joint and, if so, what causes it. A sample of synovial fluid is necessary to obtain this information. The synovial fluid is the liquid around the joints that keeps them moving smoothly and reduces friction. The specialist inserts a needle into the affected joint and draws out the sample. Then, obtained fluid is sent to the lab for analysis.  

A blood sample can tell the doctor if your body produces more white blood cells to fight infection and whether an infection is in your bloodstream.

Special imaging studies can also help to diagnose infection in a joint. In addition, they can provide information about joint damage. These studies may include x-rays, CT scans, MRI’s and nuclear scans.

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