What is osteomyelitis?

Osteomyelitis is an inflammation or swelling of bone tissue that is usually the result of an infection. Osteomyelitis, or bone infection, may occur for many different reasons and can affect children or adults. Some of the causes of osteomyelitis include the following:

Osteomyelitis can have a sudden onset, a slow and mild onset, or may be a chronic problem, depending on the source of the infection.

Who is affected by osteomyelitis?

Osteomyelitis can affect all populations, but is more common in infants, children, and older adults. Populations at increased risk include individuals with weakened immune systems, recent trauma, or diabetes.

What are the symptoms of osteomyelitis?

Symptoms of osteomyelitis vary, depending on the cause and if it is a rapid or slow onset of infection. The following are the most common symptoms of osteomyelitis. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

The symptoms of osteomyelitis may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

How is osteomyelitis diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for osteomyelitis may include the following:

Treatment for osteomyelitis

Specific treatment for osteomyelitis will be determined by your doctor based on:

The goal for treatment of osteomyelitis is to cure the infection and minimize any long-term complications. Treatment may include:

Long-term considerations for osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis requires long-term care to prevent further complications, including care to prevent the following:

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