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Can a Throat Infection Cause Arthritis? Septic Arthritis Explained

Updated
Fit
3 min read
Can a Throat Infection Cause Arthritis? Septic Arthritis Explained

When you think arthritis, do you think ‘old age’, ‘genetics’, ‘crippling pain’, or would you think ‘babies’, ‘throat infection’, and ‘bacteria’?

What if I told you the second set of words went along with arthritis just like the first?

Not just genetics, and not just in old age, infectious arthritis can affect anyone (especially young kids), and can be the result of unrelated, seemingly harmless issues.

What causes it? Can it be treated? How can you prevent it? FIT explains everything you need to know about the disease.

Can a Throat Infection Cause Arthritis? Septic Arthritis Explained

  1. 1. What Is Infectious Arthritis?

    Infectious arthritis or septic arthritis is, as the name suggests, an infection that occurs in the joints.

    “When Bacteria accumulated in the synovial fluid in the joints that ultimately causes inflammation, resulting in arthritis,” says Dr Nikunj Agrawal, Senior Consultant, Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Noida explains infectious arthritis.

    Expand
  2. 2. What Causes It, and What Are Some Risk Factors?

    Although anyone can get it, Dr Nikunj Agrawal talks of certain groups that are more susceptible to it.

    “People who have low immunity, like children, older individuals, people who have diabetes, or have been suffering from severe chronic diseases, and even those who have been on prolonged medication, are more prone to getting infectious arthritis,”
    Dr Nikunj Agrawal, Senior Consultant, Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement, Max Hospital, Noida

    This type of arthritis is usually caused by bacteria, most commonly the staphylococcus bacteria, a type of bacteria that causes infections by entering the bloodstream through cuts and breaks to the skin and even through contaminated food.

    Dr Agrawal also talks about how certain injuries, especially if left untreated can lead to septic arthritis in the joints. “Through the injury, bacteria can creep in and cause an infection,” he says.

    “Even a throat infection or a tooth infection can travel through the blood to the joints, especially in young children, and cause infectious arthritis,” he explains.

    Other than these, people who already have some other type of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis are also more vulnerable to getting secondary septic arthritis.

    Expand
  3. 3. What Are the Symptoms?

    According to Dr Agrawal, symptoms will typically include redness and pain in the affected joint(s). This can also escalate to severe pain and inability to move the limb.

    Other symptoms include fever, weakness, and stiffness and swelling of the joint.

    “The onset of these symptoms is rapid,” says Dr Agrawal.“Patients usually come to us within 3 to 4 days of being infected.”

    If left untreated, it can aggravate, spreading to other tissues, and even cause permanent damage to the joints and cartilages.

    But the good news is that, unlike other degenerative arthritis, septic arthritis is curable if caught and treated on time.

    Expand
  4. 4. How Is It Treated?

    The treatment for infectious arthritis is twofold.

    According to Dr Agrawal, “in this type of arthritis, we have to give aggressive treatment to kill the bacteria. In the early stages, we can expect a complete recovery.”

    This treatment involves a combination of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication, and painkillers if required.

    “In the late stage, it can cause damage to the cartilage, and can require surgery,” he adds.

    First and foremost, it's most important to identify the bacteria that is causing the infection, explains Dr Agrawal.

    “For this, fluid is removed from the joint and sent for culture and sensitivity tests to know exactly what type of bacteria is causing it.” Depending on which bacteria is causing it, specific antibiotics can be given to counter them.

    Prevention still remains the better cure.

    To prevent infections from spreading, treat injuries and local infections, especially in very young children. In adults, be wary of other diseases that can cause septic arthritis such as gonorrhea, Hepatitis C, and Lyme infection.

    Pain and swelling in the infected joint are usually the first signs, and should not be ignored or dismissed.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

What Is Infectious Arthritis?

Infectious arthritis or septic arthritis is, as the name suggests, an infection that occurs in the joints.

“When Bacteria accumulated in the synovial fluid in the joints that ultimately causes inflammation, resulting in arthritis,” says Dr Nikunj Agrawal, Senior Consultant, Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Noida explains infectious arthritis.

ADVERTISEMENT

What Causes It, and What Are Some Risk Factors?

Although anyone can get it, Dr Nikunj Agrawal talks of certain groups that are more susceptible to it.

“People who have low immunity, like children, older individuals, people who have diabetes, or have been suffering from severe chronic diseases, and even those who have been on prolonged medication, are more prone to getting infectious arthritis,”
Dr Nikunj Agrawal, Senior Consultant, Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement, Max Hospital, Noida

This type of arthritis is usually caused by bacteria, most commonly the staphylococcus bacteria, a type of bacteria that causes infections by entering the bloodstream through cuts and breaks to the skin and even through contaminated food.

Dr Agrawal also talks about how certain injuries, especially if left untreated can lead to septic arthritis in the joints. “Through the injury, bacteria can creep in and cause an infection,” he says.

“Even a throat infection or a tooth infection can travel through the blood to the joints, especially in young children, and cause infectious arthritis,” he explains.

Other than these, people who already have some other type of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis are also more vulnerable to getting secondary septic arthritis.

What Are the Symptoms?

According to Dr Agrawal, symptoms will typically include redness and pain in the affected joint(s). This can also escalate to severe pain and inability to move the limb.

Other symptoms include fever, weakness, and stiffness and swelling of the joint.

“The onset of these symptoms is rapid,” says Dr Agrawal.“Patients usually come to us within 3 to 4 days of being infected.”

If left untreated, it can aggravate, spreading to other tissues, and even cause permanent damage to the joints and cartilages.

But the good news is that, unlike other degenerative arthritis, septic arthritis is curable if caught and treated on time.

ADVERTISEMENT

How Is It Treated?

The treatment for infectious arthritis is twofold.

According to Dr Agrawal, “in this type of arthritis, we have to give aggressive treatment to kill the bacteria. In the early stages, we can expect a complete recovery.”

This treatment involves a combination of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication, and painkillers if required.

“In the late stage, it can cause damage to the cartilage, and can require surgery,” he adds.

First and foremost, it's most important to identify the bacteria that is causing the infection, explains Dr Agrawal.

“For this, fluid is removed from the joint and sent for culture and sensitivity tests to know exactly what type of bacteria is causing it.” Depending on which bacteria is causing it, specific antibiotics can be given to counter them.

Prevention still remains the better cure.

To prevent infections from spreading, treat injuries and local infections, especially in very young children. In adults, be wary of other diseases that can cause septic arthritis such as gonorrhea, Hepatitis C, and Lyme infection.

Pain and swelling in the infected joint are usually the first signs, and should not be ignored or dismissed.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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