Bone infection or osteomyelitis occurs once bacteria or fungi invades a bone. Among children, bone infections typically occur in the long bones of the legs and arms. As for adults, they usually arise in the spine, hips and feet.
Osteomyelitis can develop abruptly or over a long period of time. If not correctly treated, the infection can leave the bone permanently damaged.
Some of the risk factors that increases the likelihood of developing osteomyelitis include:
- Diabetic ailments that disrupt the blood supply to the bones
- Peripheral arterial disease
- Intravenous drug use
- Sickle cell disease
- Trauma to the tissues surrounding the bone
- Presence of infected artificial joints or hardware
What are the indications?
Generally, the initial symptom to arise is pain of the infection site. Other common symptoms include:
- Redness in the affected area
- Fever and chills
- Swelling in the affected site
- Irritability or generalized feeling of being sick
- Stiffness or difficulty in using the affected limb
There are several options that the doctor can utilize to manage osteomyelitis. Antibiotics are usually required and administered intravenously for severe cases. The antibiotics must be taken for up to 6 weeks.
Surgery might be needed in some cases of bone infections. If surgery is required, the surgeon will get rid of the infected bone and dead tissue as well as drain any pockets of pus or abscess.
If an individual has a prosthesis that is causing the infection, the doctor might decide to remove and replace it with a new one. Any dead tissue around or near the infected area might also be removed.
In most cases of osteomyelitis, they can be treated. As for chronic infections, it might take a longer time to treat and heal especially cases that require surgery. The treatment is usually aggressive since amputation might be an option sometimes. The outlook for the condition is good if the infection is treated early.