Eighty-seven patients with septic arthritis diagnosed from 1966 through 1977 are described. Thirty-three had gonococcal arthritis, of whom 31 were women. Twenty were between the ages of 20-29 years. The commonest joint involved was the wrist. Culture of synovial fluid was positive for N. gonorrhea in 11. Fifty-four patients had non-gonococcal arthritis, of whom 40 were men. The mean age was 38 years. S. aureus was the commonest organism cultured. The knee was the most frequently involved. Treatment with iv antibiotics and aspiration was usually successful.