Other Names:
Bone infections
Acquired deformities of bone
Brodie's abscess

Osteomyelitis (OM) is an infection of bone. Symptoms may include pain in a specific bone with overlying redness, fever, and weakness. The long bones of the arms and legs are most commonly involved in children e.g. the femur and humerus, while the feet, spine, and hips are most commonly involved in adults.

The cause is usually a bacterial infection, but rarely can be a fungal infection. It may occur by spread from the blood or from surrounding tissue. Risks for developing osteomyelitis include diabetes, intravenous drug use, prior removal of the spleen, and trauma to the area. Diagnosis is typically suspected based on symptoms and basic laboratory tests as C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). This is because plain radiographs are unremarkable in the first few days following acute infection. Diagnosis is further confirmed by blood tests, medical imaging, or bone biopsy.

Treatment of bacterial osteomyelitis often involves both antimicrobials and surgery. In people with poor blood flow, amputation may be required. Treatment of the relatively rare fungal osteomyelitis as mycetoma infection entails the use of antifungal medications. In contrast to bacterial osteomyelitis, amputation or large bony resections is more common in neglected fungal osteomyelitis (mycetoma) where infections of the foot account for the majority of cases. Treatment outcomes of bacterial osteomyelitis are generally good when the condition has only been present a short time. About 2.4 per 100,000 people are affected each year. The young and old are more commonly affected. Males are more commonly affected than females. The condition was described at least as early as the 300s BC by Hippocrates. Prior to the availability of antibiotics, the risk of death was significant.

Broader Problems:
Diseases and injuries of bone
Bone necrosis
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST