Osteomyelitis refers to a bone infection. Infections travel through nearby tissue or the bloodstream. After you suffer a serious bone or joint injury, you could be susceptible to a bone infection.
While treatable, infections can kill the bone and lead to the removal of the infected area. Mayo Clinic explains the risks and signs of osteomyelitis.
Risks of osteomyelitis
As you age, your bones become less resistant to infection. Other risk factors of bone infection include severe bone fractures and deep wounds that provide a means for bacteria to enter the wound. Animal bites and nail punctures are common pathways for osteomyelitis to occur.
Also, surgery for broken bones or joints can provide a path for germs. If you have a circulation disorder, your body may also have trouble fighting off infection. You could have a small cut that turns into an ulcer and creates a bone infection. Those with chronic health conditions may also be at risk. Some illnesses that could cause poor circulation include sickle cell disease, diabetes and peripheral artery disease.
Symptoms of osteomyelitis
In some cases, bone infections will not carry any sign of infection. You may have trouble distinguishing it from other issues. For adults with compromised immune stems and babies, it may be particularly difficult to notice signs of a bone infection.
- Pain in the infected area
- Warmth and swelling at the site of the infection
With any sign of an infection, it is crucial to visit a doctor as soon as possible. If you have bone pain along with a recent injury or surgery, you may have osteomyelitis.