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Symptoms of Septic Arthritis

What are some symptoms of septic arthritis?

The symptoms of infectious arthritis vary according to the type of germ causing it:

Bacteria. Bacteria cause most cases of infectious arthritis. If the arthritis is caused by bacteria, inflammation is generally located in only one place or area. The infection is often accompanied by fever and chills and its onset is quite sudden.

Septic Arthritis can cause joint pain and inflammation.

Virus. If the arthritis is caused by a virus, there is usually no fever, but there is an aching feeling all over the body.

Fungus. Inflammation caused by a fungal infection can be in one area or throughout the body, and it usually occurs very slowly, over weeks or months. You may have a mild fever or no fever at all.

Septic arthritis is considered a medical emergency because of the damage it causes to bone as well as cartilage, and its potential for creating septic shock, which is a potentially fatal condition. For this reason, if you or your child experiences any of the following symptoms, go see your doctor immediately!

Symptoms adults experience:

  • Severe joint pain. Your joints may ache, or the pain may feel burning or sharp. For some people, it may get better after a while. Constant pain may be a sign that your infection is getting worse.
  • Inflammation. You’ll notice swelling and experience inflammation of the affected joint.
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    Fluid collects in the infected joint, causing it to swell and stiffen.
  • Redness. A redness will develop around the affected joint.
  • Warmth. If you gently touch the area, you’ll actually feel heat.
  • Fever and chills. Because septic arthritis is caused by an infection, alternating fevers and chills are common.

Symptoms children experience:

  • Pseudoparalysis. The stiffness and inflammation may cause an inability to move the affected joint. The pain may play a factor in your child’s inability to move the affected joint as well.
  • Pain. Your child may cry out when the affected joint is moved.
  • Irritability. The joint pain, overall body aches, stiffness, and flu-like symptoms your child is experiencing can cause increased irritability.
  • Fever and chills. Because septic arthritis is caused by an infection, alternating fevers and chills are common.

Remember. Infectious arthritis is usually not a long-term illness; most of the time it can be cured if it is treated promptly and properly, which is why early diagnoses is so critical. Contact your doctor is you or your child are experiencing the above symptoms.

Do you have more questions?

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Joint Facts:


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Our Cold Compression Shoulder Wrap provides quick and efficient relief of swelling and pain from an active sprain, shoulder strain, whiplash, or tight upper back muscles.

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