Infectious, or septic, arthritis is an infection in one of your child’s joints. Septic arthritis is an intensely painful infection in a joint. The joint can become infected with germs that travel through the bloodstream.
Ultrasonography is a simple and relatively inexpensive technique for detecting fluid in the hip joint. This test has a greater sensitivity than plain X-rays and is becoming the modality of choice to reveal hip joint fluid. Consultation may be indicated with an orthopedic surgeon.
Treating the joint infection promptly is important to prevent it from becoming a chronic, or long-term, disorder. Treatment can include a needle aspiration of the affected joint, surgical drainage, and intravenous (IV) or oral use of antibiotics.
Most children will completely recover from joint infections after proper treatment. They are not likely to develop the same infection again. In most cases, children have no further problems and return to all of their activities.
In general, children do better when the infection is recognized early. There is a greater chance for full recovery when the infection is quickly recognized and treated. The later the diagnosis is made, the more likely it is that the infection will cause greater damage to the bones, muscles and other tissues that are involved.
Some problems can occur in children who have serious and prolonged infections. These include joint stiffness, muscle weakness, and limping. However, these problems are rare.