Joint Injury and Disease Information, Treatment and Pain Relief
 

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Treating and Managing Septic Arthritis

Your prognosis depends on prompt treatment with antibiotics and drainage of the infected joint. About 70% of patients recover without permanent joint damage. However, many people can develop osteoarthritis or deformed joints. Children with infected hip joints sometimes suffer damage to the growth plate.

Can septic arthritis be treated?

Most of the time infectious arthritis can be cured if it is treated early.

  • Antibiotics. Because an infected joint can be destroyed within days or sometimes within hours without prompt treatment, antibiotics must be started as soon as an infection is suspected. Infections caused by bacteria are treated with a combination of antibiotics. It is important to take all the antibiotics prescribed, even if the symptoms may have been relieved, so that the bacteria do not get stronger and develop a resistance to antibiotics.
  • Antifungal drugs. Infections caused by fungi are treated with antifungal drugs.
  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Infections caused by viruses usually get better without treatment. NSAIDs help relieve the pain and fever.
  • Medication. Infections caused by viruses usually get better without treatment. You can reduce the pain and fever by taking acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • Joint drainage.
    arthrocentesis of a septic arthritis knee.
    Depending on your condition, you may be put in the hospital for treatment. Sometimes affected joints must be drained of excess fluid that has built up. This is done by inserting a needle directly into the joint to remove bacteria, reduce pressure on the joint, and provide a sample for the doctor to have analyzed. This procedure is usually painless.
  • Surgery. Potentially joint replacement surgery may be required if the damage to your joints is extensive.

If treatment is delayed, infectious arthritis has a mortality rate between 5% and 30% due to septic shock and respiratory failure.

What about pain-relieving and preventative measures?

A healthy life style will prevent health issues

If your condition responds adequately after 5 days of medication or joint drainage treatment, you can begin mobilizing the infected joint. While you’re recovering the following options can bring you pain relief and help speed your recovery:

Exercise. Once your infectious arthritis is under control, exercise is a good treatment and preventative measure. Activities such as swimming, walking, and cross-country skiing (Yoga, Tai Chi, and Pilates are good activities to participate in too) can help you strengthen your joints and muscles.

Cold wrap therapy. Cold compression wraps interrupt pain signals and reduce inflammation. Arthritis immobilizes your joints by inducing swelling in the surrounding tissue. The deep cold provided by cold compression wraps slows this process. Cold wraps numb the nerves to reduce the pain. In the early stages of your infection, controlling inflammation is extremely important, especially because inflammation also strains the surrounding tissue causing more pain and damage. Once the infection is controlled, cold compression can help you relieve pain and inflammation due to the exercises you are required to perform for full joint recovery.

If you don't have a cold compression wrap for managing your septic arthritis pain, an important and safe treatment method is being ignored. Our MendMeShop store contains a wide selection of cold compression wraps.

Combine heat therapy. To increase blood flow and circulation, try combining heat therapy with cold compression. We offer hot packs for our wraps as well.

Splinting. To keep the joint from moving and can help ease the pain.

Physical therapy. A physical therapist can teach you exercises to do daily. Range of motion exercises reduce stiffness and help keep your joints moving. As well, a therapist can provide pain relief through movement and massage.

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Ultrasound therapy. Ultrasound therapy is a great option to decrease inflammation, pain, tension and soft tissue damage experienced with septic arthritis.

Painless ultrasound treatment for septic arthritis.
You can administer your own therapy using a portable, home ultrasound device. The treatment is easy, painless, safe, and generally requires between 5 - 10 minutes. It is based on a form of deep tissue therapy, which is generated through high frequency sound waves (that we can not hear). These waves send vibrations deep into your body and raise the temperature of your soft tissue. The waves are delivered through a hand held transducer and medicinal conductive gel that are used together in a slow, circular motion on your skin over the affected area. You may experience a slight tingling or warm sensation during the process as a result of the gel; this enhances the therapeutic effects of ultrasound (phonophoresis). You deserve specialized, professional care. Get your own ultrasound kit from MendMeShop.

Note: Ultrasound therapy may help, but talk to your doctor first.

Can septic arthritis be prevented?

Staying healthy through eating a balanced diet, proper rest, and exercising can help to prevent septic arthritis as well as help to prevent you from contracting the other diseases which can lead to it.

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Adopting a "good-health attitude" and healthy habits, such as eating a nutritious diet (low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and salt and high in fibre and complex carbohydrates - whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables), maintaining a healthy weight, and getting enough sleep, will make you feel better and allow you to stay active.

Some cases of infectious arthritis are preventable by lifestyle choices. These include avoidance of self-injected drugs, practicing safe sex, and prompt testing and treatment for suspected cases of gonorrhea.

How can I cope with the disease?

The degree to which septic arthritis affects your life depends in part on how you cope with the disease and participate in your treatment and recovery. Talk to your health professional about coping strategies. In time you'll find what strategies work for you. In the meantime, try to:

  • Keep a positive attitude. With your doctor, make a plan for managing your arthritis. This will help you feel in charge of your disease. Studies show that people who take control of their treatment and actively manage their arthritis experience less pain and make fewer visits to the doctor.
  • Know your limits. You’ll likely require aggressive physical therapy to allow maximum post-infection functioning of the joint. However, rest when you're tired. Septic arthritis can make you prone to fatigue and muscle weakness. A short nap after exercise, that doesn't interfere with nighttime sleep, may help.
  • Connect with others.
    Coping with septic arthritis.
    Keep your family aware of how you're feeling, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Also, connect with other people who have experienced septic arthritis — through a support group in your community or online. Other people with the disease can offer unique support during these times.
  • Take time for yourself. It's easy to get busy and not take time for yourself. Find time for what you like, whether it's time to write in a journal, go for a walk, or listen to music. Use this time to relieve stress.
  • Relax. Developing good relaxation and coping skills can give you a greater feeling of control over your arthritis and a more positive outlook. Try deep breathing exercises. Listen to music or relaxation tapes.


Do you have more questions?

If you have any questions regarding our therapeutic products and your treatment options, please contact a MendMeShop Advisor for assistance. You can be assured all your questions will be answered in a thorough and courteous manner by our trained staff.

Within Continental US and Canada call toll 1-866-237-9608

International Callers 705-445-3505

Email us at service@aidmyjoints.com.

We strive to answer all emails within 24 hours. Often you will receive your response sooner.

Our Office Hours

Monday, Tuesday 9:00am to 8:00pm (Eastern Standard Time)
Wednesday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm (Eastern Standard Time)

 

Joint Facts:


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