Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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 A sample of this fluid can be withdrawn from your affected joint with a needle.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 specific organism is causing your infection, so your doctor will know which medications might work best.
  • Blood tests. Your doctor may order tests to see if there are signs of infection in your blood. A sample of your blood is removed from a vein with a needle for this test.
  • Imaging tests. X-rays and other imaging tests of the affected joint also may be ordered to assess any damage to the joint.
Aug. 25, 2015