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

  • Syphilis Causes and Treatment
    1

    Syphilis is a potentially fatal sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacterium (spirochete) called Treponema pallidum. The same organism causes another disease called yaws which is transmitted by close body contact...

  • Wart Causes and Treatment
    0

    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...

  • Eczema Symptoms and Treatment
    0

    The term eczema describes a large range of skin diseases that cause itching and burning of the skin. It typically appears as red, swollen skin that is initially covered with small fluid-filled blisters that later break...


Comments

No comments yet.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Please Note:


    • 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.

    Click to Rate This Article
    working