Michael P. D'Alessandro, M.D.
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed
Septic arthritis is most commonly due to staphylococcus that seeds the intraarticular part of the femoral metaphysis during septicemia. Complications that can occur if treatment is not prompt can include joint destruction, epiphysis ossification center destruction, secondary osteomyelitis, and joint capsule contraction.
Plain film can show osteopenia of femoral epiphysis and metaphysis due to disuse or hyperemia, increased medial joint space due to increased pressure from joint fluid (Waldenstein's sign), and frank osteomyelitis. Cartilage destruction and femoral head overgrowth may be seen late.
Ultrasound allows direct visualization of a hip effusion, if one is present.
See References Chapter.
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