Osteomyelitis – What Should You Know?

ortho doctor consulting with patient

Osteomyelitis is an infection of bone or bone marrow caused by bacteria or fungi. This painful condition causes swelling and damages bone resulting in bone loss. In most cases, osteomyelitis is caused by a type of bacteria found on the skin, the staphylococcus bacteria.

Osteomyelitis is of two types:

Acute osteomyelitis – This is from a sudden onset and you may have a fever and then develop pain in the infected area after a few or several days, which could be treated with antibiotics.

Chronic osteomyelitis – This infection is hard to treat with antibiotics and can go undetected for months or even years, where it causes severe bone pain and continuous development of (pus) drainage after a certain point.


The commons symptoms are:

Drainage (yellow pus)
Irritability or lethargic
Limited movement
Painful motion of the joint
Loss of appetite
Sweating or chills

Who Are at Risk?

Only 2 out of every 10,000 people get osteomyelitis. The condition affects both children and adults, however, acute osteomyelitis is more common in children.

Weakened immune system
Implanted prosthesis
Chronic diseases such as diabetes, HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, sickle cell anemia, or kidney disease.
Intravenous drug use
Recent injury
Poor blood supply
Illegal drug use


Avoiding Infection

Reduce the chance of getting infected from an injury by taking proper wound care management, because even a small cut can become an issue if it is not treated properly.

Flush out any open wound under running water for five minutes, then bandage it using a sterile dressing. If your wound or cut is deeper, then rush to the emergency room immediately and/or get it checked with your family physician or an orthopedic specialist.

Quit Smoking and Alcohol

Smoking cigarettes can clog your arteries and increase your blood pressure. It can affect your circulatory system and weakens your immune system.

Excessive consumption of alcohol on a regular basis can cause an increase in blood pressure and cholesterol level, which will make your circulation worse.

If you feel quitting is hard, then get your physician’s help for cessation therapy or counseling.


Since osteomyelitis is a serious condition and it can take a long time to heal, it is important to get it treated as early as possible. In the case of acute osteomyelitis, early treatment can prevent it from becoming chronic osteomyelitis. Chronic osteomyelitis may take longer to treat and heal, especially, if they require surgery or an amputation. Consult with a wound care physician or an orthopedic specialist immediately, if you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms.

Carolina Regional Orthopaedics

Carolina Regional Orthopaedics provides the most effective, modern, and innovative techniques in both Orthopedic Surgery and Pain Management using proven methodologies in both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of all conditions affecting the spine, upper extremities, and lower extremities. We specialize in hand and wrist surgery, joint replacements, sports medicine, trauma care, pediatric orthopedics, pain management, wound care, regenerative medicine, physical therapy, imaging services, and EMG testing.