Septic arthritis in children is a true medical emergency and poses a unique clinical challenge to the pediatrician, rheumatologist, and orthopedic surgeon. The term septic arthritis refers to microbial invasion of the joint space, not associated with contiguous osteomyelitis. Acute septic arthritis is bacterial, regardless of age, and is the most common form of infectious arthritis. Early diagnosis and subsequent appropriate medical and surgical intervention is imperative to avoid destruction of the articular cartilage, thus preventing permanent disability. The authors review the epidemiology, pathogenesis, and clinical and microbiological characteristics of septic arthritis in children and examine the current approaches to diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
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