Osteomyelitis refers to an infection of the bone. It most commonly occurs as a result of an open wound or spreads from a blood-borne infection. Osteomyelitis should be treated immediately as it can lead to the death of bone tissue.

What You Need To Know About Osteomyelitis

What Is Osteomyelitis?

Osteomyelitis occurs when fungi and/or bacteria enter the bone, causing swelling and inflammation. If left untreated, the inflammation blocks the blood flow to the bone. In chronic cases of osteomyelitis, the bone tissue may die.

Bone infection affects both adults and children, generally fixating in the arms and legs of children or the spine, hips, and feet of adults. Most commonly, the infection occurs when a bacteria enters the bloodstream after an injury or undergoing surgery. Pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes and other chronic diseases that suppress immunosuppression can increase the risk of infection.

The expert physicians at Resurgens Foot & Ankle Center understand how to treat osteomyelitis. Schedule an appointment at one of our Metro Atlanta locations now!

What Causes Osteomyelitis?

When certain harmful bacteria enters your bloodstream, the immune system weakens, occasionally resulting in bone infection. Typically, these bacteria enter through open wounds from surgery, open fractures, or other injuries that leave the bloodstream around the bone exposed.

Patients who already suffer from a weakened immune system are more likely to experience osteomyelitis because their bodies struggle to fight off the infection.

Infections should be treated promptly as some chronic cases of infection lead to the death of bone tissue and damage the bone.

Osteomyelitis Symptoms

Symptoms for osteomyelitis vary depending on the nature of the infection. There are two subtypes of osteomyelitis: chronic osteomyelitis and acute osteomyelitis.

Chronic osteomyelitis appears with similar symptoms to an injury; you may experience stress or pain while walking and feel the need to limp.

Acute osteomyelitis progresses quickly. Symptoms of acute osteomyelitis may include:

  • Redness, inflammation, tenderness, or pain near the infection.

  • Fever.

  • Nausea.

  • Fatigue.

  • Drainage from the wounded area.

How Is Osteomyelitis Diagnosed?

During your visit to Resurgens Foot and Ankle Center, one of our physicians will perform a series of examinations to evaluate the severity of your injury. Your recent medical history may help identify possible causes for the infection. Be sure to inform your physician of any recent injuries or surgeries. They will also assess your range of movement and check for signs of any swelling or redness around the infected bone.

To narrow down causes of your pain, the physician may request diagnostic testing using blood tests, biopsies, and imaging tests. These tests help your physician understand the extent of your bone infection and help strategize the best treatment plan for you.

Osteomyelitis Treatment

There are many action plans for osteomyelitis treatment. Your physician will pick the best one for your specific needs. In many cases of bone infection, antibiotics are prescribed as a first step to help fight the contagion.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Your physician may require cultures and/or a bone biopsy to determine whether you will need oral or intravenous antibiotics and how long you will need to take them.

Any open wounds are cleaned regularly and checked for healing. Your response to the antibiotics will be monitored with blood tests. Occasionally, fluid around the infection will need to be drained through needle aspiration.

Surgical Treatment

In severe cases, surgical procedures like absorbable antibiotic bead treatment for osteomyelitis may be required to remove the infected bone or any metallic implants if present. During the procedure, the physician embeds antibiotics in the form of beads into the blood-stream near your infected bone ensuring the medication will reach the affected area. These antibiotics are a crucial means of keeping the infection from returning.

At Resurgens, our skilled staff can diagnose osteomyelitis or other existing infections and/or problems in your bones. We have helped many people with osteomyelitis symptoms find relief. Schedule a consultation at a Foot & Ankle center near you now!

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