Infected Joint Pain: Fast vs. Slow Infections

September 20, 2019

If you’re experiencing joint pain you’ve never had before, there are many causes that your doctor will consider, including the onset of Rheumatoid arthritis, a case of septic arthritis, or a case of reactive arthritis.  If you have a case of septic arthritis, also called infectious arthritis, which is an acute bacterial, viral, or fungal infection of the joint, specialists at ID Care can identify the cause and get you started on a course of treatment that’s appropriate. Depending on the infectious agent, you may have a fast- or slow-acting infection. Here is what you should know about infectious arthritis, fast-acting, and slow-acting joint infections, and what it all means for your treatment options.

Signs You May Have Infectious Arthritis
The symptoms of all types of arthritis tend to be very similar, which means proper diagnosis through physical examination and blood tests and possibly MRI scans and X-rays is very important for finding the right cause before serious damage is done to your joints. You may feel pain, swelling, and stiffness with all types of arthritis. If you have a case of infectious arthritis, you may also experience:

  • Significant joint pain that’s worse than non-infectious arthritis
  • A limited range of motion
  • Redness
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Change in appetite
  • Increased irritability
  • Skin rashes

Fast-Acting vs. Slow-Acting Joint Infections

Some joint infections, such as gonococcal arthritis, a complication of the sexually transmitted disease, gonorrhea, are slow-acting but can cause significant damage to your joints if left untreated. Other causes of joint infection are fast-acting, presenting within hours or days of infection and may constitute medical emergencies that need to be addressed as soon as possible. The most common cause of acute septic arthritis is Staphylococcus aureus, which is a strain of bacteria that can cause a host of other issues, including skin rashes and pneumonia.

Treatments Options for Infected Joint Pain

Depending on the cause of the infection, you may be treated with antibiotics, antifungal medications, or antiviral medications. In many cases, the doctor will drain fluid from the joint through a syringe or through arthroscopy, which involves a small incision and a tube inserted into the joint. Physical therapy that exercises the infected joints and the use of splints may also be prescribed as part of a treatment plan.

Receive Expert Care for Your Infected Joint Pain from ID Care

Because certain types of joint infections can have deadly consequences and others may cause permanent joint damage, it is extremely important not to ignore your symptoms. At ID Care, we have more than 40 board-certified physicians, as well as joint specialists, who can root out the cause of your specific joint pain and get you started on a treatment plan that gets you back to good health. We have nine convenient locations where you can set up an appointment today.