Ask An Orthopedist: Septic Arthritis

Calendar July 11, 2017

Question: I was wondering your thoughts on the best physiotherapy management of patients presenting with septic arthritis to the hospital. Should they immobilize the joint and be non-weighting initially or just mobilize within comfort and weight bear as tolerated. Is there is any detriment to doing either?

Septic arthritis causes a significant inflammatory response within the joint and some bacteria can even cause some damage to the cartilage.  Initial restricted motion of the joint with minimal weight-bearing is preferable, followed by progressive mobilization as the inflammation begins to subside.

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