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A knee infection occurs when bacteria contaminate the synovial fluid that lubricates your knee joint. It is a serious medical condition that often requires immediate and aggressive treatment. Knee infections may result from surgeries, inflammation or other reasons.


You will experience:

  • Severe pain while moving the knee joint
  • Restriction in the knee movement due to pain and stiffness
  • Nausea and chills
  • Fever that extends for more than a day
  • Swelling around the knee
  • Irritation, redness and inflammation of the knee
  • Knee infection causes


  • Soft tissue infection: Also known as cellulitis, it is caused by staph bacteria. The bacteria usually habitats on the skin, and will enter into the knee joint through any open wound. Immunosuppressants and diabetic medications will increase the risk for this infection.
  • Knee infection post surgery: Infection may arise  at the site of artificial implants of knee replacement surgeries. As artificial implants are made of metal or plastic, their immune capability to combat bacteria will be low, and could give rise to infections. Surgeries for repairing tendons or cartilage, meniscus repair, ACL or PCL repair will also result in infections.
  • Bacterial joint inflammation: Also known as septic arthritis, it may result from a puncture wound, animal bite or existing infection in the knee. Rheumatoid arthritis and immune suppressants will also increase the risk of infections.
  • Knee bursitis: Inflammation that affects the knee bursae, the fluid-filled sacs that protect and pad the knee bacteria will enter into these sacs and develop into an infection.
  • Osteomyelitis: Infections that arise in the knee bursae and other knee parts will reach the bones. Also traumatic injuries expose the bone to the air developing an infection. They are serious but rare infections.


  • Medications: Prescribed antibiotics work on the bacteria, and reduce the infection. Antibiotics are also given intravenously to make the infection better. Oral antibiotics are to be taken until the infection is cleared completely.
  • Surgery: Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure where the infected fluid around the joint is removed. In minor cases, fluid is removed with the help of a large needle. In serious conditions, open surgery is needed to remove the fluid and damaged tissue.

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