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Septic arthritis

  • Alternative Names

    Bacterial arthritis; Non-gonococcal bacterial arthritis


    Symptoms

    Symptoms usually come on quickly. There is a fever, and joint swelling that is usually in just one joint. There is also intense joint pain, which gets worse with movement.

    Symptoms in newborns or infants:

    • Cries when infected joint is moved (example: diaper change causes crying if hip joint is infected)
    • Fever
    • Inability to move the limb with the infected joint (pseudoparalysis)
    • Irritability

    Symptoms in children and adults:

    • Inability to move the limb with the infected joint (pseudoparalysis)
    • Intense joint pain
    • Joint swelling
    • Joint redness
    • Low fever

    Chills may occur, but are uncommon.


    Signs and tests
    • Aspiration of joint fluid for cell count, examination of crystals under the microscope, gram stain, and culture
    • Blood culture
    • X-ray of affected joint