Osteomyelitis is an infection in a bone. The infection is usually due to bacteria, but it can also be caused by other types of germ, like a fungus. Osteomyelitis occurs when:
Osteomyelitis can also occur following an operation on a bone, especially if the surgery follows an injury or if it included insertion of metal plates or rods.
When children develop osteomyelitis, it occurs most often in the legs or arms. In adults, osteomyelitis is most likely to develop in the hips or pelvic bones, the bones of the foot, or the backbones (vertebrae).
People who have acute osteomyelitis usually are very ill. Symptoms of bone infection include:
With adequate medical treatment, people who have acute osteomyelitis usually recover. Sometimes chronic osteomyelitis can develop. In this condition, the symptoms of osteomyelitis come and go, sometimes for many years.
Using traditional systems of classification, osteomyelitis is classified using the following factors:
Osteomyelitis classification is sometimes broken into these categories:
Osteomyelitis prevention, especially for those who have a compromised immune system, involves taking steps to avoid all types of infection. When you are working with sharp tools, such as knives or saws, keep your tools and work surface clean. When participating in sports, wear protective equipment like knee and elbow pads. Keep your home well-lit to avoid tripping in the dark and wipe up spills to avoid slips.
If you do get injured, clean the injured area right away and apply a clean dressing. Check the wound often and know what signs to report to your doctor. Ways to prevent osteomyelitis.
If you have symptoms of osteomyelitis, notify your healthcare provider for evaluation and treatment. Especially if you: