Osteomyelitis is a medical term that is used to refer to an infection of the bone. The condition is easily classified on the basis of the organism that causes it. This may be either mycobacteri or pyogenic bacteria. It may also be classified by the mode of infection or the specific location that is infected. Staphylococcus aureus is the most popular culprit as a causative agent and the condition may affect various locations including:
- An open injury that exposes the bone, this may be a fracture with a bone tip that pierces out through the skin.
- An infection that has spread to the bones, including, a urinary tract infection or pneumonia
- A trauma that may cause a blood clot around a bone, therefore leading to secondary infection creating a suitable environment for bacteria to thrive
- A soft tissue infection may extend down to the bone if not attended to and this may lead to infection
Causes of Osteomyelitis
As stated, the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus is the most probable cause of the infection, though other types of bacteria are known to cause infection. In rare cases, fungi are also known to cause bone infection. Many reported cases of osteomyelitis do not necessarily start from the bone, but from other surrounding factors including infected skin, tendons close to the bone, muscles and blood. A bone infection may also occur after a bone surgery, where the bones are fitted with metal plates after an initial injury. There are also other risk factors including:
- Injected drug use
- Poor blood supply
- Recent trauma
Symptoms of Osteomyelitis
The infection shows a number of symptoms including:
- Bone pains and tenderness around the infected region
- Warm swelling within the infected region
- Illness due to the infection, that comes with nausea and chills
- Draining of pus within the skin
- General physical discomfort, ill feeling and uneasiness
- Excessive sweating
- Pains in the lower back
- Swelling in the lower leg region, including the ankle and feet
- The swelling is quite painful and therefore causes changes in walking patterns
Treatment of Osteomyelitis
Prolonged therapy using antibiotics might be necessary and this might be carried out for week or even months. The condition may also require surgical debridement. This is the surgical removal of dead, infected or damaged cells so as to improve the healing process of the remaining healthy tissues. Severe cases might require amputation.
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