In a child, septic arthritis usually affects the hip. In adults the knee is most often affected.
Local features include:
- overlying skin is red and warm
- swollen, painful joint
- pain on movement - movements are always diminished and often absent if the joint is rigid due to pain and spasm
General features include tachycardia and swinging pyrexia.
- may present as irritability in children
- more than one joint may be involved
Widespread septic arthritis in a newborn, caused by septicaemia, is called Tom Smith's arthritis.
Last reviewed 06/2021