June 9, 2008

Treatment for Septic Arthritis (Infectious Arthritis)Therapies

Posted in Category : Bone, Joint & Muscles Disorders

There are various forms of arthritis among which some are associated with other diseases or infections. Septic arthritis, also known as infectious arthritis, is related to bacterial infections. The micro-organisms like gonococci, staphylococci, streptococci, gram-negative bacilli and hemophilus influenzae are most frequently associated bacteria. This disease can affect the joints of knee as well as hip, ankle, shoulder, elbow, fingers and wrist and cause inflammation, pain, swelling of joints accompanied by warmth in the surrounding area of joint as well as fever and chills.

The goal of treatment for septic arthritis (infectious arthritis) is to eliminate the bacterial infections, reduce joint inflammation, minimize the joint damage and to improve and maintain mobility of joints. As this disease is caused by the bacterial infections, use of antibiotics to eliminate the bacterial infections is the basic treatment. Use of antibiotics is empirical and depends on the sensitivity of the organism and persons physical conditions. Intravenous route mode to pass down antibiotics is one of the most effective methods.

Antibiotic treatment should be started as early as possible. Use of antibiotics depends on type of bacterium causing infection. After detecting sensitivity of bacteria to particular antibiotics, treatment plan is decided. Antibiotics reach to the infected area through veins and blood stream, then eradicate the bacteria and viruses and thus prevent further infection of joints. Generally, recovery is expected within 5 to 6 days. There may be some side-effects of antibiotic therapy such as vomiting, diarrhea and nausea.

Another effective option of treatment for septic arthritis (infective arthritis) is joint drainage in which synovial fluid is removed from the infected joint. It helps to remove bacteria and decreases pressure on the joints. This fluid is analyzed for the presence of bacteria and other micro-organisms. This fluid is removed by arthroscopic surgery or it can be removed by arthrocentesis.

Surgical treatment for septic arthritis (infective arthritis) is performed in combination with proper antibiotic therapy. If septic arthritis occurs in artificial joint, then it is necessary to replace the joint. Patients with serious cartilage or bone damage may require reconstructive surgery. In surgical treatment for septic arthritis, new joint is positioned by infusing an anti-infective agent with the methylmethacrylate cement. Gentamicin or tobramycin are commonly used anti-infective agents. The aim of this surgery is to diffuse antibiotic to surrounding tissues. Surgery should follow the related antibiotic treatment.

In addition to these surgical and non-surgical treatments, physiotherapy and gentle exercises can help to reduce pain and stiffness of joints and to maintain the muscle strength. Besides this, elevation, immobilization, rest and warm compresses may be helpful to relieve pain.