What physical findings suggest septic arthritis?

Updated: Sep 03, 2019
  • Author: John L Brusch, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

A thorough inspection of all joints for signs of erythema, swelling (90% of cases), warmth, and tenderness is essential for diagnosing infection. Infected joints usually exhibit an obvious effusion, which is associated with marked limitation of both active and passive ranges of motion (ROMs). Frequently, these findings are apparent but may be diminished or poorly localized in cases of infection of the spine, hip, and shoulder joints. [18]


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