Bone Infection (Osteomyelitis): Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

bone infection
bone infection around the joint

What is a bone infection (Osteomyelitis)?

Bone infection is simply an infection or inflammation involving bones. Bone infection is otherwise known as osteomyelitis. It could affect both children and adults. Osteomyelitis is being found in the bones around the legs and arms of children. This infection is most common around the feet, jaw, hips, and spine of an adult. Although a bone infection could be rare, it is really a life-threatening infection if not properly being treated and could damage the bones eventually leading to the death of an individual.

Bone Infection (Osteomyelitis): Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
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Types of bone infection ( osteomyelitis)

We have basically two types of bone infection namely:

  • Acute Osteomyelitis: This type of osteomyelitis appears rapidly and could be treated easily to avert being chronic osteomyelitis. Acute osteomyelitis is most common among children than in adults.
  • Chronic Osteomyelitis: Chronic osteomyelitis is mainly found in HIV and diabetic’s patients where the infection resurfaces after successful treatment. This type of infection is common in adults.

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Bone infection (Osteomyelitis) in the jaw

Bone infection in the jaw usually arises from dental caries or periodontal disease which is painful. The risk of contracting a bone infection in the jaw is mostly found with conditions like osteoporosis, malignancy, Paget’s disease, and radiotherapy. This osteomyelitis could find its way into the skull of a human.

Complication of bone infection (Osteomyelitis)

Complication of osteomyelitis still occurs after successful treatment of the infection. Most at times the chronic bone infection seems to have been completely treated but later reoccur which may eventually result in the death of bone tissues permanently. Also, people whose immune system are weakened especially HIV/AIDS and diabetic’s patients are highly susceptible to this infection.

What causes bone infection (Osteomyelitis)?

The main cause of bone infection is a bacteria known as Staphylococcus aureus. Here the Staphylococcus aureus may invade the affected area of the bones, moving into the bloodstreams and eventually spreads to all other parts of the body. Osteomyelitis could arise from deep infected wounds, repair of fractured bones and process of hip replacement in surgical operations.

Who is at risk for bone infection (Osteomyelitis)?

People whose immune systems are weakened are usually at risk of contracting osteomyelitis. Below are some conditions or behaviors that may tend to increase your risk of contracting bone infection:

An HIV or AIDS Patient

Recent injuries


Poor blood supply

Chronic smokers

Rheumatoid arthritis patient

Drinking of alcohol

People with sickle cell diseases

Treating kidney conditions in the case of hemodialysis

Consistent use of steroids

Intravenous drug users

Replacement of the knee and hips during bone surgery

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)

Bone infection (Osteomyelitis) Symptoms

Osteomyelitis symptom usually starts surfacing as from 6 to 10 days in its early stage. Below are the common symptoms of bone infection:

Severe pains


Severe fever

Loss of appetite

Feeling fatigue

Redness and swellings around the infected area

Lost in a range of motion

Unknown weight loss

Stiffness in the use of affected limbs

Diagnosis of bone infection (Osteomyelitis)

The medical doctor will first ask about any family background of the infection and also look at the signs and symptoms of it especially that of severe pains, swellings, and tenderness around the infected area.

The doctor might go further to be convinced about the osteomyelitis by performing several tests on the patient like:

Blood tests: This help determine the actual organism that is causing the bone infection. A patient with an increased high white blood cells level shows the presence of the infection in the body. Tests like stool, urine, and throat microscopy/culture/sensitivity are performed to check for the presence of the bacteria that might cause the bone infection.

Imaging tests of bones: This is done either using MRI/CT scanning or X-ray scanning to show the damage of any bone in the body and to know the best treatment that is appropriate for the patient.

Bone biopsy: Here a test is being performed using a small piece of tissue to determine if it is fungi or bacteria that is causing the infection.

Read Also: Bone Infection-Foot Health Facts

Prevention of bone infection (Osteomyelitis)

In preventing bone infection, one has to handle things in a clean manner generally. Below are the ways for prevention of both acute and chronic osteomyelitis:

Having a good personal hygiene practice like proper washing of the hands and keeping things neat

Inculcate proper washing of wounds with clean water and bandage using a sterile bandage

Making sure your immunization vaccine is up to date and avoids skipping your immunization

Wounds irrespective of whether small cut or deep cuts should be frequently checked to avoid being infected

Smoking should be avoided because it affects the circulation of blood and weakened the immune system resulting in one contracting the osteomyelitis

Adequate exercise should be practiced daily to protect the body against the infection

Eating a healthy balanced diet to improve the immune system and reduce the risk of contracting the bone infection

Excessive consumption of alcohol should be avoided so as not to increase the chances of having hypertension and increased cholesterol level in the body

Treatment of bone infection (Osteomyelitis)

Below are the treatments of bone infection recommended by doctors:

Surgery: Here the medical doctor will find and remove any dead tissue/ infected bone with its pus to make the patient free from the infection.

Use of antibiotics: Most doctors prescribe taking of the antibiotics orally or intravenously in the case of chronic bone infection for the duration of 3-6 weeks for optimal treatment.

Your medical doctor might remove any dead tissue around the infected site and replaced it with a new one especially in patients having a prosthesis.

What is the long-term outlook for bone infection (Osteomyelitis)?

Although the bone infection could be life-threatening, it can be treated effectively with improved technologies now in place. The long-term outlook with patients with bone infection could be successful if the infection is detected early and treated immediately.


We have seen how bone infection tends to invade an open wound thereby getting into the bloodstreams and eventually spreading to other parts of the body. Always wash your hands, keep your body and, any cuts acquired in a clean manner. Wounds should not be unwashed with clean water and untreated, instead consult your medical doctor for proper treatment. Report any side effect like vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea experienced in the course of taking the antibiotics to your doctor.

 In a case where after successful surgery, yet the bone infection still resurfaces try cutting off completely the infected bone to be free completely.

Some bone infection (Osteomyelitis) treatment center in the USA

Memorial Hermann Hospital System

This type of hospital has 100 percent expert match and its clinical score, patient experience, outcomes, and efficiency score are highly rated. Memorial Hermann Hospital System is located at 165 North Loop West, Houston, Texas. Visit Memorial Hermann Hospital System

Mayo Clinic Hospital

Mayo Clinic hospital has an expert match of 90 percent and it is located at 1216 Second Street Southwest, Rochester, Minnesota. Its clinical score, patient experience, and overall efficiency score are really superb. Make an appointment with Mayo Clinic Hospital.

Duke University Hospital

The Duke University Hospital has 88 percent expert match. This hospital is located at Dumc Erwin Road, Durham, North Carolina. Its clinical, patient experience and efficiency score is highly rated. Visit Duke University Hospital today

Methodist Hospital

It has 87 percent expert match and is located at 6565 Fannin, Houston, Texas. The clinical score and overall efficiency score is absolutely unique. Make an appointment with Methodist Hospital.

New York-Presbyterian Hospital

This hospital has an expert match of 83 percent. It is located at 525 East 68th Street, New York. The overall efficiency score and the clinical score is optimal. Visit New York-Presbyterian Hospital

LAC+USC Medical Center

It has an expert match of 83 percent and is located at 1200 N State Street, Los Angeles, California. It has a standard clinical and efficiency score rating. Make an appointment with LAC+USC Medical Center

Huntington Memorial Hospital

This hospital has 82 percent expert match and is located at 100 W California Blvd, Pasadena, California. The clinical and efficiency score is of a standard. Visit Huntington Memorial Hospital

Evanston Hospital

Evanston hospital has 82 percent expert match. It is located at 2650 Ridge Avenue, Evanston, IL. Its clinical and efficiency score is very conducive. Check out Evanston Hospital today

St Joseph Hospital

It also has 82 percent expert match. The clinical and efficiency score of St Joseph hospital is of a good standard. Visit St Joseph hospital

Methodist Healthcare Memphis Hospitals

This hospital has an expert match of 82 percent. Its patient and the clinical overall score is unique. Make an appointment with Methodist Healthcare Memphis Hospitals

John Hopkins Medicine, Maryland

It is also a sophisticated hospital in the treatment of bone infection (osteomyelitis). The overall efficiency rating is engaging. Visit John Hopkins Medicine

Florida Hospital

Here experts can diagnose and treat bone infection efficiently well. Its overall efficiency and the clinical score is really nice. Make an appointment with Florida Hospital

UT Southwestern Medical Center, Texas

They also have experts in treating osteomyelitis. They have an optimal patient, clinical, and efficiency score rating. Visit UT Southwestern Medical Center

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    • We appreciate dear and please tell your aunt to always be in touch with her doctor irrespective of any successful treatment against future reoccurrence. Thank you.

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