Signs and symptoms of osteomyelitis depend on whether the condition is acute, lasting several months or less, or chronic, lasting several months to years.
Signs and symptoms of acute osteomyelitis include:
Signs and symptoms of chronic osteomyelitis include:
Sometimes osteomyelitis causes no signs and symptoms or has signs and symptoms that are difficult to distinguish from other problems. For instance, osteomyelitis of the hip, spine or pelvis may have few signs and symptoms. Osteomyelitis that occurs after a broken bone (fracture) or deep wound may cause pain and swelling that you may attribute to your injury, not an infection.
Osteomyelitis occurs when an infection develops in a bone or spreads to a bone from another area of the body. It's caused by bacteria or fungi. Staphylococcus aureus is a common cause. The infected bone may deteriorate and form a pocket (abscess) of pus in response to the infection. This may block blood supply to the bone. In cases of chronic osteomyelitis that last for years, the loss of blood supply may lead to death of the bone.
The bones are normally resistant to infection. In order for osteomyelitis to occur, a situation that makes the bones vulnerable must be present. For instance, trauma to the bone, such as a fracture, or to the soft tissue around the bone, such as a puncture wound, gives infections a route to enter the bone or nearby tissue. Individuals may also be vulnerable to infection if they have a condition that weakens their body's ability to fight an infection, such as HIV, diabetes or sickle cell anemia.
A physical examination shows bone tenderness and possibly swelling and redness. Your doctor may order a combination of tests and procedures to diagnose osteomyelitis and to determine which germ is causing the infection.
Tests may include:
Osteomyelitis can be difficult to treat. The objective of treatment is to eliminate the infection and prevent it from getting worse. Antibiotics may be given to destroy the bacteria that are causing the infection.
For infections that do not go away, surgery may be needed to remove dead bone tissue. Surgical procedures may involve drainage of the infected area, removal of diseased bone and tissue, restoration of blood flow, or removal of foreign material.
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I had chronic osteomyelitis in my left femur as a child. I had extensive surgeries on the femur over a period of 10 years. After many years of being OK excepting a bit of arthritis, I had a bad fall two months ago, hurting my lower back. The pain has now gone into my hip and femur. I am wondering if this could have triggered anything relating to the osteomyelitis or would it be completely cured by now? See answer
I have had pain in my right buttock and hip/spine for 3 years. I have had a few medical opinions regarding the cause. How is osteomyelitis diagnosed? Can if be identified through MRI or X-ray? See answer
I am trying to find more information about osteomyelitis. Can you provide me with the information that I need? See answer