Knee infection is a serious medical condition that needs immediate treatment. Infection may occur followed by a knee replacement surgery or trauma and is usually caused by bacteria. Infection may spread to the space of the knee joint or deep layers of your knee causing serious complications.
Symptoms of Knee Infection
The most common symptom is knee pain and inability to move your knee joint. Other symptoms include:
- Fever and chills
- Swelling around your knee joint
- Warmth and redness of the knee joint
The possible risk factors that may cause a knee infection include:
- Joint conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Immune-suppressing medications
- Surgery involving repair of torn cartilage or tendon
- Artificial joints
- A deep cut which may expose tissue or bone to bacteria
Diagnosis of Knee Infection
Your doctor physically examines your knee for pain, redness and/or swelling. The tests ordered by your doctor may include:
- An X-ray to view the extent of damage
- A blood test to diagnose bacterial infection
- Needle aspiration to confirm the presence of microorganisms in the knee fluid
What Happens if a Knee Infection is Untreated?
An untreated knee infection can damage knee cartilage and bone and may result in permanent knee damage. The bacteria from your infected knee can reach the bloodstream and spread to various parts of the body.
Treatment of Knee Infection
Treatment involves the use of antibiotics which are either prescribed orally or intravenously. Joint drainage may be necessary to drain infected fluid surrounding your knee joint. A large needle may be used to drain the fluid. Very serious infections may be treated by arthroscopy or open surgery. This involves removal of infected fluid and tissue and changing out the prosthesis if needed.
Prevention of Knee Infection
You can prevent a knee infection by following simple measures including:
- Discussing with your doctor various ways to prevent infection if you take medications for rheumatoid arthritis or HIV-AIDS, or if you are diabetic.
- Have your joints assessed by your doctor on a regular basis. Check for any sores or cuts which may further lead to infection.
- Do not ignore insect, spider or animal bites.
- Do not ignore any other infections in your body.
- Avoid intravenous drug use.
- Eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight.