Osteomyelitis Causes and Treatment
Osteomyelitis is a serious but uncommon infection of a bone. These infections are more common in children, and the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone) and humerus (upper arm bone) are the most commonly affected, but any bone in the body may be involved. Any cut that penetrates through the flesh to the bone leaves the bone open to infection, but osteomyelitis often commences without any obvious cause and the infecting bacteria must therefore reach the bone through the blood stream. The infected bone becomes painful, tender and warm, and the tissue over the infected bone is swollen. The patient is feverish and feels ill. X-rays can show the bone damage caused by osteomyelitis, but often not until several days after the infection has started.
Treatment before this stage is desirable, and so testing the blood for the presence of bacteria, plus the appearance of the patient, are usually sufficient to allow the commencement of a potent antibiotic, which is often given as an injection. Once the infecting bacteria have been correctly identified, the antibiotic may be changed. Several weeks of antibiotic treatment, and strict bed rest during this time, are necessary. If pus is present in the bone, an operation to drain it is essential.
Complications of osteomyelitis include septicemia, permanent damage to the bone and nearby joints, bone death and collapse, persistent infection and damage to the growing area of a bone in a child. With modern antibiotics, the majority of osteomyelitis cases are controlled and cured soon after the diagnosis. Complications are more likely in remote areas with poor access to medical services, in disabled patients who cannot adequately communicate their problems, and in underdeveloped countries.
More by this Author
A dense mat of spider webs, held onto the skin by a piece of paper fastened with string. Compresses of castor oil. The milk squeezed from the leaf of a wild lettuce. These are some of the treatments that were in use...
The lung is much like a sponge. It is light, fluffy and full of air. Now imagine dipping that sponge into a jar of honey. It will come out clogged up, heavy and sticky. Now when someone develops pneumonia, the section...
Appendicitis is the inflammation of the vermiform appendix, a small pencil-like structure connected with the cecum, the first part of the large intestine. Appendicitis is caused by an obstruction and infection in the...
No comments yet.
The information provided on this page is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a registered physician or other healthcare professional.
The content of this page is intended only to provide a summary and general overview. Do not use this information to disregard medical advice, nor to delay seeking medical advice.
Be sure to consult with your doctor for a professional diagnosis and appropriate medical treatment.