The following tests typically help diagnose septic arthritis:

  • Joint fluid analysis. Infections can alter the color, consistency, volume and makeup of the fluid within your joints. A sample of this fluid can be withdrawn from your affected joint with a needle. Laboratory tests can determine what organism is causing your infection, so your doctor will know which medications to prescribe.
  • Blood tests. These can determine if there are signs of infection in your blood. A sample of your blood is removed from a vein with a needle.
  • Imaging tests. X-rays and other imaging tests of the affected joint can assess damage to the joint.
Dec. 19, 2015
  1. Goldenberg DL, et al. Septic arthritis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 26, 2015.
  2. Imboden JB, et al. Septic arthritis. In: Current Rheumatology Diagnosis & Treatment. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Oct. 25, 2015.
  3. Krogstad P. Bacterial arthritis: Clinical features and diagnosis in infants and children. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 26, 2015.