UPDATE: All-American Rejects’ Tyson Ritter

Tyson Ritter hit YouTube to explain his recent illness (Warning: some of the language is inappropriate for young children). He says that he had an infection in his knee, and that the infection had spread to his bloodstream. He was hospitalized for intravenous antibiotics for 5 days, which he continues to receive at home through a central IV line inserted in the hospital. He denied that drugs were involved, and that his gaunt appearance is due to a 10 pound weight loss during his illness.

Medically, an inflammation in the knee (or any other joint) caused by a germ (bacteria) is called septic arthritis. The knee is the most common joint affected. Septic arthritis is caused in one of three ways:

  1. Bacteria from an infection elsewhere in the body (such as a bladder, upper respiratory, or skin infection) travel through the bloodstream to the joint (MOST COMMON)
  2. The joint is directly infected with bacteria during by an injury to the joint
  3. A puncture wound, drug injection or surgery near a joint may allow bacteria into the joint (LEAST COMMON).

The most common bacterium involved is called Staphylococcus aureus. The symptoms include fever, and a joint that is red, warm, swollen, tender and has limited mobility. Treatment is with antibiotics, usually intravenously. Without treatment, there can be permanent damage to the joint.


For more information:

Septic Arthritis
Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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