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Septic Arthritis


Usually elderly patients
The infection can be the result of

  • a direct inoculation of a bacterium through an open injury to the joint (e.g. open fracture), penetration of a foreign body, or during an intra-articular injection, especially injection of a steroid suspension.
  • a haemato-genous dissemination from focal infections: dental abscess, cystitis, urethritis, skin infections.

    These causes are very dependent on the patient's resistance against infections: patients with diabetes, renal failure or a deficient immune system, e.g. rheumatoid arthri-tis, are more likely to suffer from haematogenous dis-semination followed by a septic arthritis. 13, 14

    Symptoms and Signs:

    Acute, severe pain and functional loss.

    Gross limitation of movement in the capsular pattern with a spastic endfeel;
    The joint shows the signs of a hyperacute inflammation: much pain, gross swelling, redness, warmth
    There are also general symptoms, such as high fever, a toxic appearance, pallor, loss of appetite and rigors.


    A bacterial infection of the elbow joint is always very serious. It may lead not only to total destruction of the joint but may also endanger life.


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