Symptoms of a knee infection

When you're talking about a knee infection, the bacterial pathogen responsible for the condition may penetrate almost any portion of the knee, including the joint, bursa, bone and even skin. This can cause a medical condition to develop that brings with it its own set of symptoms.

Depending on the area of infections, symptoms will vary from person to person.

Knee Bursitis

Of all the infections that can plague the knee, bursitis is one of the more common. If bacteria penetrate one or more of the bursae, which are the pads located along the bones, tendons and muscles of the knee, the area can become inflamed, causing knee bursitis. With this type of infection, a person usually experiences some swelling, warmth, tenderness and pain. Each of these symptoms can make it quite difficult for a person to move or place pressure on the actual knee.

Septic Arthritis

Another common infection of the knee is a condition known as septic arthritis. With this condition, a bacterial pathogen invades the joint of the knee, damaging its structure and causing inflammation. This often triggers the symptoms of knee warmth, swelling and pain, especially during times of physical exertion. The infection may also cause the symptom of a fever (between 37.7 to 38.3 degrees C) that is often accompanied by the chills.


When the infection invades the actual bones of the knee, it can cause the condition of osteomyelitis. Osteomyelitis is characterised by a deterioration of the bone caused by a bacterium or fungus that forms an abscess. This abscess eventually creates an obstruction in the supply of blood to the affected bone. As this occurs, most people begin to display symptoms of the condition, including a flushing and swelling to the skin above the infected bone, tenderness and pain within this same area and even some fatigue and irritability within the sufferer.


Not only do infections plague the actual structure of the knee, they can also affect the skin in this same area of the body. This type of bacterial infection is known as cellulitis, which is usually caused by the streptococcus or staphylococcus bacterium. As this infection sets in, the skin becomes warm, flushed, swollen and tender. If left untreated, it can spread into the underlying tissue and eventually invade the bloodstream.


To remedy almost any of the symptoms you are experiencing due to a knee infection, you must first treat the condition. With all of these conditions, the initial course of treatment includes an antibiotic medication to kill the bacteria affecting the joint, bursa, bone or skin. From there, corticosteroids may be used to lessen inflammation and swelling, the area may need draining of any fluids that have accumulated due to the infection or an actual surgical procedure may need to be performed to fix any damage that has occurred or remove an diseased tissue or bone.