Infection of a joint needs rapid attention, consult your doctor. Septic arthritis treatment involves antibiotic medication and drainage of the infected joint. But it’s not as daunting as it may sound. Take a look below to find out more about what’s involved.

Septic arthritis, also known as infectious arthritis, is inflammation of a joint caused by microorganisms.  It can be caused by bacteria, a virus, or fungus.  Most commonly, it is caused by either staphylococcal bacteria or streptococcal bacteria.

Septic arthritis usually affects a single joint, but it can affect multiple joints. Which joint becomes affected depends on the microbe causing the infection, and the risk factors particular to the sufferer.

Without treatment, septic arthritis can be life-threatening or lead to permanent joint damage. A successful outcome depends on swift medical attention. Rapid clearing of the infection is vital to preserve the joint and prevent a spread of the infection through the bloodstream and around the body. The majority of people make a full recovery after treatment.


Septic Arthritis Treatment

Septic arthritis treatment involves the use of antibiotics and drainage of the infected fluid from the joint.

Antibiotic treatment

Antibiotics  may be required for four to six weeks.

  • If you have suspected septic arthritis, you will be given antibiotics immediately to prevent the infection spreading. Often, they are given directly into a vein (intravenously) which means you will have a short stay, usually a couple of days, in the hospital.
  • Analysis of your joint fluid helps to identify the type of organism causing the infection. While waiting for the results to be known, you may be given empiric antibiotics which cover a wider range of possible microorganisms. When the bacteria are identified, antibiotics specific to that organism are given.
  • When the course of intravenous antibiotics is finished, your treatment will be continued on an outpatient basis. You’ll then take antibiotic tablets at home for four to six weeks to ensure the bacteria has been destroyed.



Joint aspiration can be used to diagnose and treat the condition.

  • Drainage of the infected synovial fluid is essential to rapidly clear the infection. The procedure is called an arthroscopy. Joint aspiration helps in relieving joint swelling and pain.
  • The fluid is drained by a doctor using a sterile needle and syringe. The exact method depends on the joint affected. There is no special preparation before a joint aspiration. It is a simple procedure.
  • A topical or local anesthetic is applied to your skin or just beneath the skin.
  • Sometimes, cortisone (an anti-inflammatory medication) or hyaluronic acid derivatives (synthetic joint lubricant) is injected into the joint to rapidly relieve inflammation and further reduce symptoms.
  • You may need to rest in bed for a few days. This helps takes pressure off the affected joint.


Septic arthritis treatment aims to deal quickly and effectively with this is a medical emergency. Most people respond well to treatment. Septic arthritis treatment includes drainage of the infected joint fluid and antibiotics (intravenous and oral), to relieve the symptoms and kill the organism that is causing the condition. Contact a medical professional immediately if you think you have septic arthritis.