How to Prevent Skeletal Infections

Preventing Septic Arthritis

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Septic arthritis can lead to swollen, painful joints.

Septic arthritis is caused by a variety of bacteria, most often Staphylococcus and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

Septic Arthritis Infection Information

Septic arthritis develops either when bacteria spread through the bloodstream from another infected area in the body and infect a joint, or when the joint is directly infected through traumatic injury or surgery. The condition causes swollen joints (typically in weight-bearing joints such as the knee or hip) and intense pain. Sometimes, the swelling and pain are so severe that they cause partial paralysis. Early diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics is important to stave off long-term damage to the joint.

Who's at Risk for Septic Arthritis?

People with a chronic illness, an immunosuppressive illness, a bacterial infection, rheumatoid arthritis, a joint injury, an artificial joint implant, and those who've had recent joint surgery are at increased risk. Children, especially those younger than 3, also have a higher risk of septic arthritis.

Defensive Measures Against Septic Arthritis

Your physician might prescribe preventive antibiotics if you are at high risk for septic arthritis; early treatment is essential to prevent long-lasting joint damage. If you are otherwise healthy and would like to decrease your chances of developing septic arthritis, there are a couple things you can do:

  • Get regular exercise. A body full of strong, healthy bones, muscles, and joints isn't as prone to developing some kinds of arthritis.
  • Control your weight. Maintaining a weight that is appropriate for your height and bone structure can help reduce the risk of developing arthritis in load-bearing joints, such as the knees.

Skeletal infections can be extremely painful and can have long-term affects on your health. Follow these tips and guidlines to help prevent skeletal infections, and seek treatment immediately if you think you might be infected.


Laurie L. Dove is an award-winning Kansas-based journalist and author whose work has been published internationally. A dedicated consumer advocate, Dove specializes in writing about health, parenting, fitness, and travel. An active member of the National Federation of Press Women, Dove also is the former owner of a parenting magazine and a weekly newspaper.

© Publications International, Ltd.This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.