Osteomyelitis, causes, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment.

Osteomyelitis jpg

Osteomyelitis is also termed a bone infection. This is an inflammation of the bone from an infection. Not only does it affects the spine, arms but also the legs. Infection can reach the bone through the bloodstream or infection of nearby tissues. At times infections may start in the bone itself when exposed to germs. Those at risk are:

  • Smokers.
  • Those with chronic conditions e.g. kidney failure.


  • Fever.
  • Fatigue.
  • Pain in the regions/areas of infection.
  • Swelling and redness in the infected areas.

Causes of osteomyelitis

Staphylococcus bacteria is the common cause of osteomyelitis. The germs may be found in the nose or skin of healthy individuals. Germs can enter the bone through:

Risk factors

  1. Age- as one gets older their immune system lessens.
  2. Orthopedic surgery or recent injury such, as a nail wound. They act as pathways for infection.
  3. Use illicit drugs. At times there is no use of sterile needles or even disinfection of skin before injections.
  4. Conditions that suppress the immune system e.g. cancer treatment or poorly controlled diabetes.
  5. Use of catheters and intravenous lines in conditions like dialysis machine tubing.
  6. Circulation disorders- make fighting small infections difficult as the body is not able to transport infection-fighting cells to the needed areas. Diseases that can impair blood circulation are sickle cell disease, poorly controlled diabetes, and peripheral artery disease.

Complications of Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis images


  1. Avoid cuts, animal scratches, and bites.
  2. Clean injuries and cover them with a clean bandage.

Diagnosis of Osteomyelitis

  1. X-rays to reveal any damage to the bone.
  2. MRI produces a detailed image of bones and tissues.
  3. A CT scan creates a detailed cross-sectional view of one’s internal structures.
  • Biopsy. Bone biopsy shows the type of germs causing the infection. This helps in treatment.


  1. Removal of the diseased bone and tissues. Done in a procedure known as debridement.
  2. Draining of pus/ any fluid in the affected areas.
  3. Removal of foreign objects e.g. screws from previous surgeries.
  4. Restoration of blood flow by debridement. Helps the body to repair damaged blood vessels and the formation of new bones.
  5. Amputations of limbs in the affected areas to stop the spread of infections.
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