Important Information About Treating Septic Arthritis

November 09, 2017

When it comes to a knee pain doctor, Fox Valley residents from Green Bay to Oshkosh might need to see one for a variety of reasons. Septic arthritis is a type of arthritis that results from a joint infection. While any joint can experience this condition, it is most often seen in the knees. It is important that prompt treatment is given or else there is the risk for significant bone and cartilage damage.

Getting a Prompt Diagnosis

It is important that any suspected septic arthritis is promptly diagnosed or else you are at risk for potentially irreversible damage to your knee or other affected joint. Your doctor will start with examining the affected joint and looking for the outward signs of the condition. To ensure that the diagnosis is accurate, the following might be performed:

  • Blood testing is commonly done because this can tell your doctor if there is an infection present by examining your blood.
  • Joint fluid analysis is done to look at the volume, makeup, consistency and color of the fluid in your joints. This is done by using a needle to pull some of the fluid from the joint. It can be slightly uncomfortable, but it is a relatively quick process. The joint fluid sample can then be analyzed to determine exactly which organism is responsible for the infection you are experiencing.
  • Imaging testing is another option. This is often done to determine the level of damage your joint might have sustained as a result of the septic arthritis.

Course of Antibiotics

Once your doctor discovers the offending organism, they can prescribe the right antibiotic to fight it. In most cases, you will be taking this type of drug for four to six weeks. Initially, you might receive IV antibiotics for a specific amount of time. Then, your doctor will switch to an oral option.

Joint Drainage

In most cases, your doctor will need to drain your joint as part of the treatment process. This involves inserting a needle into the affected joint and pulling out the fluid. However, there are two other ways your doctor might choose to do this, depending on the condition of your joint and certain other factors. The first option is via surgery using a scope, also referred to as arthroscopy. In this case, drainage and suction tubes are used after making small incisions around the affected joint to accommodate them. The second type is an open surgery. It is done the same way as the scope procedure except the incision is larger.

If you suspect that you might have septic arthritis, make an appointment to see one of the knee pain specialists at the Orthopedic & Sports Institute of the Fox Valley (OSI). OSI’s Appleton location includes physician clinics, an accredited surgery center, an imaging center with MRI, physical therapy, and a skilled nursing facility for orthopedic recovery. OSI also has convenient outreach clinics for initial consultations and follow up visits in New London, Ripon, Shawano, Waupaca, and the newest location in the NOVO Clinic in De Pere.

To request a consultation with one of the experts at the Orthopedic & Sports Institute, please call (920) 560-1000 or request an appointment online.