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HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini

Septic arthritis (joint infection)

Important

Septic arthritis (joint infection) needs urgent medical treatment.

Symptoms of septic arthritis are:

If you have any of these symptoms it's important that you see a doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will then diagnose if you have septic arthritis.

Children can also get septic arthritis. This can cause your child to be unwell or upset, probably with a fever and limping, or not wanting to put weight on or use an arm or leg. You should see a doctor immediately if this happens.

Septic arthritis is an infection of a joint. If you have septic arthritis, your joint will be very painful and swollen. The skin over your joint might be red. You are also likely to have a fever and feel unwell. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if your symptoms are due to septic arthritis or gout.

If your doctor believes you have a septic joint they'll send you to hospital to see a specialist team. They might give you antibiotics or you may need surgery to have the joint washed out.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by rheumatologist, Department of Rheumatology, Immunology & Allergy, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed December 2017.

Page reference: 78679

Review key: HISHE-19164