Despite advancement in the field of antibiotics septic arthritis remains a serious concern till date. Staphylococcus aureus is the most common bacterium that causes septic arthritis. Severity of this disease is directly correlated with chronic inflammation induced by proinflammatory cytokines like TNF-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and induction of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) including MMP-2. The objective of our study was to evaluate the role of MMP-2 and tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 (TNFR1) in the pathogenesis of S. aureus infection-induced septic arthritis. Mice were infected with live S. aureus (5 × 106 cells/ml) followed by administration of MMP-2 inhibitor and TNFR1 antibody. Arthritis index showed highest reduction in severity of arthritis in mice treated with both MMP-2 inhibitor and TNFR1 antibody after infection. Combined neutralization of MMP-2 and TNFR1 led to marked diminution in bacterial count in the combined group. Lowest levels of pro inflammatory cytokines like TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IFN-γ were observed in both serum and synovial tissues indicating maximum protection in S. aureus arthritis during combination treatment. Increment in the level of IL-10 in the combination group could be positively correlated with the recovery of arthritis. Similarly, expressions of COX-2 and iNOS, markers of acute inflammation were also significantly reduced in the combination group due to resolution of inflammation. Levels of O2.− and NO also showed a significant fall in case of the group treated with MMP-2 inhibitor and TNFR1 antibody both. Neutralization of both MMP-2 and TNFR1 caused rapid decline in recruitment of neutrophil and macrophages in the synovial tissues as evident from reduced MPO and MCP-1 levels, respectively, compared to other groups. Overall, it can be suggested that administration of MMP-2 inhibitor and TNFR1 antibody in combination is protective against the severity of inflammation and cartilage destruction associated with S. aureus infection-induced septic arthritis by altering the levels of cytokines. © 2017, Springer Science+Business Media New York.