Osteomyelitis is defined as simply infection of the bone. If the condition is not promptly treated, it can become chronic and result to the loss of blood supply to the affected bone. Once this occurs, it can lead to the death of the bone tissue.
The condition can affect both children and adults. It is important to note that fungus or bacteria can cause osteomyelitis. Among adults, osteomyelitis often involves the pelvis and vertebrae. Among children, the condition affects the adjacent points of the long bones.
What are the signs?
The indications of osteomyelitis might include:
- Pain and/or tenderness in the affected site
- Swelling and warmth in the site of infection
- Drainage of pus through the skin
- Generalized discomfort, ill feeling or uneasiness
The additional symptoms that might be linked with the condition include the following:
- Excessive sweating
- Swollen ankles, legs and feet
- Low back pain if the spine is affected
- Changes in gait
Management of osteomyelitis
The aim of treatment for osteomyelitis is to get rid of the infection and prevent the formation of chronic infection.
Remember that a chronic case of osteomyelitis can lead to lasting deformity, possible fractures and chronic issues, thus it is vital to manage the disease immediately.
- Drainage – if there is an abscess or open wound, it requires drainage via needle aspiration.
- Medications – antibiotics are generally prescribed as the initial step in managing osteomyelitis. The type of antibiotic and dosage given is based on the strain of bacteria and extent of infection.
- Splint or cast immobilization – this might be required to immobilize the affected bone and neighboring joints to prevent further damage as well as allow the area to properly heal.
- Surgery – when it comes to established bone infections, they are managed with open surgical procedures where the damaged bone is scraped out.