What is septic arthritis in children?

Joint fluid (synovial fluid) and joint tissues can be infected with septic arthritis. Usually, children are more prone to septic arthritis than adults. Usually, the infection spreads through the blood to the joints. An injection, surgical procedure, or injury may cause an infected joint in some cases.

What causes septic arthritis in a child?

The joints can be infected with bacteria, viruses, and fungi of various types. Various kinds can cause septic arthritis:

  • These bacteria often cause infections of the skin.
  • Haemophilus influenza. Laryngeal, tracheal, and these bacteria can cause bronchial infections.
  • Gram-negative bacilli. Escherichia coli (E. coli) is part of this group of bacteria.
  • Several types of strep bacteria can cause this condition.

A bacteria called Staph, or Staphylococcus aureus is the most common cause of septic arthritis. It is also called S. aureus. Bacteria may enter the body in several ways, including:

  • It usually starts on the skin or genitals but can spread
  • An infected wound
  • A broken bone pierces the skin (open fracture)
  • Through-the-skin foreign object
  • An injury that causes the skin to break

What are the risks of septic arthritis in children?

Some cases of septic arthritis do not have identifiable risk factors. A child with an open wound or a weak immune system is more likely to get sick. HIV infection, diabetes, kidney disease, or cancer can weaken the immune system.

Septic arthritis is more common in babies in the NICU

A child with septic arthritis presents with what symptoms?

In addition to knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, and wrists, septic arthritis affects the feet and ankles. It usually affects just one joint. Children may experience different symptoms. These include:

  • Fever
  • Joint pain, often severe
  • Joint swelling
  • Redness in the affected area
  • Warmth around the infected area
  • Walking is difficult or impossible with the affected limb
  • To prevent anyone from touching or seeing the affected area
  • A headache, sore throat or vomiting may be other signs of illness
  • Being grouchy (irritable)
  • Loss of appetite

These conditions can appear similar to others. See your child’s healthcare provider so your child can be diagnosed.

Baby in the NICU should be cautious because septic arthritis can go undetected because of a weak immune system. In addition, it is crucial to have a very high index of clinical suspicion because the consequences are dire if not treated!

Children with septic arthritis, how is it diagnosed?

Septic arthritis should be diagnosed early. Joints should be protected from long-term (permanent) harm. As part of your child’s physical exam, your child’s healthcare provider will take a health history. Other tests may also be performed, including:

  • MRI with contrast- You can see the extent of joint and bone involvement, along with the status of the articular cartilage and growth plate.
  • Blood tests. – Blood culture and CBC CRP.
  • Xray- When they are acute, they are usually normal. After 2 weeks, they begin to change.
  • Phlegm, spinal fluid, and urine tests. Infections can be traced back to these tests intended to find bacteria.
  • Bone scan. Radiology tests look for changes in joints caused by arthritis using radioactive substances.
  • Radionuclide scans. Scanners use radioactive substances to examine organs and their blood flow.

Septic arthritis in children: how is it treated?

Your child’s treatment depends on his or her symptoms, age, and overall health. Severity also determines the treatment.

Sepsis arthritis is an urgent surgical treatment. The joint must be drained of pus. Joints can be damaged by pus. Pus is removed using a needle, tube, or surgery to test for culture sensitivity. Antibiotics are prescribed until the results arrive. Results can be obtained in 48 hours. Fungi infections usually require antifungal medication. Medicines cannot treat viral infections.

Treatment options may include:

  • Fever and pain medications
  • Should be treated with physical therapy
  • Pain relief by applying a splint

In what situations can septic arthritis in a child lead to complications?

Septic arthritis may damage joints. If your child’s growth plate is damaged, an arm or leg may not reach full adult size. In other words, the growth plate is where a child’s bones grow. As a result, this area helps determine the final adult size of the bone. To prevent long-term complications, follow up with your child’s doctor.

When should I contact the healthcare provider for my child?

Your child’s symptoms should be reported if they get worse or develop new symptoms.

Septic arthritis in a child: key points

  • Synovial fluid (joint fluid) and joint tissues can become infected in septic arthritis. More children suffer from it than adults.
  • Bacteria, viruses, and fungi can all infect joints.
  • Fever, joint pain, swelling, redness, and warmth are common symptoms.
  • Antibiotics need to be taken as soon as possible to prevent joint damage.
  • The joint may be drained, splinted, and treated with medicine for pain and fever.

What’s next?

In order to get the most out of your child’s doctor’s visit, here are a few tips:

  • Know why the visit is necessary and what you hope to achieve.
  • Prepare a list of questions for your visit before you arrive.
  • You should record any new diagnoses, medicines, or treatments at your visit. You should also record any further instructions you receive from your provider.
  • Understanding why your child needs a new medicine or treatment is crucial. Be aware of the side effects as well.
  • Find out if there are other treatment options for your child.
  • Know the reasons for recommending a test or procedure, as well as what the results could mean.
  • Know what to expect if your child refuses the medicine, test, or procedure.
  • Record the date, time, and reason for your child’s follow-up appointment.
  • Ask the provider how to reach you after office hours. You should do this if your child becomes ill and you need advice or information.