Septic Arthritis


Refers to infection within a joint, which in adults is divided into general categories of Gonococcal and Non-Gonococcal.

Non-gonococcal arthritis presents acutely with a single swollen and painful joint with severe restriction in range of motion.


Synovial fluid is essential to diagnosis.

It is typically purulent with leukocyte counts ranging 50-150 000 cells/mm3.

Gram stains have a poor sensitivity of 30-50%

Common Pathogens

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Sexually active individuals. Tends to present with fever, chills, skin lesions, polyarthralgias and tenosynovitis and more likely to have oligoarthritis.

  • Evidence of MRSA infection elsewhere

  • Nasal colonization with MRSA

  • Injection drug use