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The presentation of a hot swollen joint is common in the emergency department, general practice, rheumatology and orthopedic clinics. There is a wide set of differential diagnoses for a hot swollen joint, thus making it difficult to diagnose and manage, especially for junior doctors. Initially, it is pertinent to exclude/diagnose medical and surgical emergencies. This paper aims to summarize the key indications within the history, examination and investigations in order to quickly and effectively diagnose a hot swollen joint based on the original 2006 management guidelines and the papers discussing other possible indications and management strategies published since then. Currently, the management of crystal and non-infectious arthropathies is well recognized with little disparity. However, the treatment of infectious arthritis is not concrete, and there are discrepancies in management between doctors. We have summarized the key indications and provided a diagnostic flow chart to aid with the management of a hot swollen joint. Copyright© Bentham Science Publishers; For any queries, please email at


Jamie Sin Ying Ho, Andrew Kailin Zhou, Caitlyn Tran, Eric Jou, Milind Girish, Azeem Thahir, Shirom Chabra, Hassan Abbas Hussain. Management of a Hot Swollen Joint in the Acute Setting. Current rheumatology reviews. 2022;18(3):173-177

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PMID: 35049435

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