A knee joint infection, also called septic arthritis, is rare but needs immediate medical attention to prevent permanent damage to the joint. Attend A&E or your local walk in centre.
A joint infection will present with a sudden onset of a red, hot and swollen knee without trauma. As there is an infection you will usually feel generally unwell and may have a fever.
You may be more prone to a joint infection:
- Following bacterial infection elsewhere in the body
- After surgery such as a knee or hip replacement
- If you have a long term condition such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis
- If you are on medication to suppress your immune system
- If you use injected drugs
- if you have recently injured the joint
- You may have a blood test or fluid aspirated from the knee with a needle. This will look for signs of inflammation or infection and the bacteria involved.
- Septic arthritis is treated with intravenous antibiotics ( directly into the vein).
- You will normally need to stay in hospital whilst being treated with intravenous antibiotics
- You may need to be on bed rest for a few days to reduce pressure on the knee.
- You may need to have fluid removed from the joint by a syringe and in some cases keyhole surgery (arthroscopy)
- You will be given pain relief medication
- After you finish the intravenous antibiotics you will normally need to continue with antibiotic tablets for at least a month at home
- Most people do completely recover but some people experience persistent stiffness in the knee.
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/septic-arthritis/Pages/Introduction.aspx – detailed information about septic arthritis