What You Need to Know About Osteomyelitis


What You Need to Know About Osteomyelitis

What is Osteomyelitis?

Osteomyelitis is a bone infection, which is a serious but rare medical condition. Bones can sometimes become infected in several ways: an open surgery or fracture may expose the bone to an infection or one part of the body infection that may spread via the bloodstream to the bones. A bacterium known as Staphylococcus aureus is the main cause of infection.

What causes Osteomyelitis?

In many cases, a bacterium known as Staphylococcus aureus, which is a staph bacteria type, has been the main cause osteomyelitis. However, certain types of chronic conditions such as diabetes may enhance the risk of developing osteomyelitis.

How prevalent is  Osteomyelitis?

Research has shown that only two people out of every ten thousand get osteomyelitis. In addition, this condition often affects both children and adults in different ways. However, certain conditions, as well as behaviors, may weaken a person’s immune system thus increasing the risk for osteomyelitis. These conditions include:

  • Diabetes (most cases of osteomyelitis stem from diabetes)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Intravenous use of drugs
  • Sickle cell disease
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Poor blood supply
  • Recent injury
  • Alcoholism
  • Use of steroids over a long-term
  • Hemodialysis

In addition, surgeries including knee and hip replacements may sometimes increase the probability of bone infection.

Which are the common bones are affected?

In many cases, long bones especially of the leg such as the femur, fibula and tibia are affected. Nevertheless, it is important to note that osteomyelitis can affect any bone in the body.

What are the Symptoms of Osteomyelitis?

The Symptoms of Osteomyelitis include but are not limited to:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue and Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Redness
  • Tenderness and warmth in the infection area
  • Swelling of skin around the affected bone
  • Lost range of motion
  • Severe back pain

How is Osteomyelitis tested and treated?

The test of Osteomyelitis is often done with two main goals in mind:

  1. Tests when confirming the diagnosis

One can do a plain X-ray especially in the early osteomyelitis stages to detect the problem. This will help in coming up with the best treatment solution for the condition to avoid spreading of the condition.

  1. Tests to find the kind of bacterium causing the infection

The blood always contains some strain of bacteria causing this bone infection. Analysis of the blood sample in the laboratory will help identify what bacterium type causing the infection. In the end, this should help determine the kind of antibiotic medicines to be administered.

How about the treatment?

Antibiotics help bring in the infection under control at the same time making it possible for one to avoid surgery.

Surgery is always needed when a ball of pus (abscess) has developed. In addition, it may be necessary if the infection has pressed many other important structures such as the spinal cord.

One may also need a surgery if the infection has become chronic.

Preventing Osteomyelitis

The best way of preventing osteomyelitis is by keeping things clean especially in children. For instance, if you have a deep cut, you should wash it completely.

In conclusion, the above information on Osteomyelitis should help you understand thus making an informed decision on how to treat and prevent the condition to improve your health.

Dr. Sue Reddy specializes in the treatment of infectious disease among many other specialties. She understands what is required to live a healthy, active life. Please feel free to take a look around her website and if you feel she provides services you may be interested in, give Dr. Reddy a call. Her staff would be more than happy to set up an appointment and answer any questions you may have.