5 Need to Know Facts About Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis is another term for a bone infection. Osteomyelitis typically affects the bones in the arms or legs when children develop it. In adults, the most commonly infected bones are the feet, hips, and vertebrae. Osteomyelitis can be very serious when left untreated, so consult an orthopaedic doctor right away if you have any possible symptoms of it.

Osteomyelitis symptoms can be systemic.

The symptoms of osteomyelitis can be localized to the area of the infection, such as pain, swelling, and skin ulcers. They can also be systemic, which means the symptoms affect the whole body. The systemic symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Malaise

It may be caused by different types of germs.

Bone infections are usually caused by staphylococcus bacteria. However, they can also be caused by other germs, such as fungi. The germs may enter the body and reach the bone after a patient is affected by:

  • A deep puncture wound
  • An open fracture
  • An orthopaedic surgery
  • An infection elsewhere in the body that travels to the bone

Diabetics are at a higher risk of osteomyelitis.

Some people have a harder time fighting off the germs that cause osteomyelitis. Diabetics, for example, may have impaired blood circulation, and this places them at a higher risk of infections. Other patients may be at a higher risk if they are affected by:

  • Hemodialysis
  • Urinary catheter use
  • Long-term corticosteroid use
  • Chemotherapy

Surgery is the standard treatment.

Orthopaedic doctors usually prefer to try conservative treatments first, but surgery is typically required for osteomyelitis. Surgery is performed to accomplish the following goals:

  • Drainage of pus and fluids
  • Removal of diseased tissue and bone
  • Restoration of blood flow to the bone

The complications can include bone death.

Very severe, sometimes life-threatening complications can develop if osteomyelitis isn’t treated promptly. These complications include osteonecrosis, or bone death, which might require amputation. Septic arthritis is another possible complication.

Patients with bone infections can find the prompt, attentive care they need at MK Orthopaedics. Our team of orthopaedic doctors and surgeons in Shorewood are all highly trained providers who are dedicated to our patients’ well-being and safety. You can reach us at (815) 741-6900.

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