Arthritis of the knee is a joint disorder that focuses on the kneecap and joints surround the knee. A septic arthritis knee is similar to ordinary arthritis but also has some differences. Ordinary arthritis affects the knee because you lose cartilage in the knee joints. This loss of cartilage might occur because your body ages and you lose the cartilage naturally. The problem can also occur because you suffer damage to the knee, which leads to the loss of cartilage. A septic arthritis knee typically occurs because of an infection. A fungal infection or a bacterial infection can lead to a septic arthritis knee. There is also a condition wherein gonorrhea causes the arthritis.
Another difference between a septic arthritis knee and an arthritic knee is that the septic arthritis occurs faster. With ordinary arthritis, you might see several weeks before you notice symptoms other than pain and swelling. With a septic arthritis knee, you experience symptoms within a few hours or days. The first symptom that occurs is fever. This is not a low-grade fever like you find with rheumatoid arthritis but a higher fever that exists with a virus. Not long after the fever appears, you notice swelling in the septic arthritis knee. The pain intensifies when you try to move the knee.
A septic arthritis knee can occur in younger children. The child typically has a fever and acts anxious or irritated. The child also experiences pain in the septic arthritis knee. Doctors identify the problem in babies and children that cannot speak by trying to gently move the knee. If the child cries when the knee moves, it might indicate the arthritis. You should keep an eye on your child if you suspect a septic arthritis knee. Babies might cry when they try kicking their feet or rolling over in bed because of the pain in the arthritic knee.
Adults experience similar symptoms in a septic arthritis knee. The knee becomes swollen and painful. You might notice that the joint appears red and that the redness grows darker as the condition remains untreated. Adults with a septic arthritis knee can also run a fever or suffer from chills. Chills are a less common symptom of a septic arthritis knee, but the chills usually appear if the condition does not get better. You must talk to a doctor about your condition because treatment typically involves antibiotics.