Numerous types of orthopedic conditions are seen in people and the causes of those conditions are different. Besides this, symptoms noticed by the people may also be not all the same. One of the rare orthopedic conditions is osteomyelitis in which the cause is different from other conditions. Osteomyelitis is a type of bone infection most commonly caused by bacteria. In certain cases, a fungal infection could also be the cause of the condition.
Osteomyelitis is the infection of the bone that could occur in one of two ways:
- Bacteria could travel through the bloodstream and infect any bone
- Infection may also occur directly in case of an open fracture or during orthopedic surgeries
Osteomyelitis is a serious condition and if treatment is ignored or delayed, mild cases could become chronic soon. Both adults and children are prone to this condition but the site of infection may vary. Chronic osteomyelitis cases require surgery and for the stabilization of bones, metal rods and plates might be implanted.
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There are certain conditions that make people more prone to getting osteomyelitis. Those conditions include:
- HIV or AIDS
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Long-term use of steroids
- Intravenous drug use
- Bone surgeries, especially hip & knee replacements
Fever, pain in the infected area, warmth to touch, and swelling are the most common symptoms associated with osteomyelitis. In some cases, no signs and symptoms may be seen or if noticed, then they may be difficult to differentiate from other conditions.
It is always advised to see a doctor if worse bone pain is noticed along with fever. While on the other hand, if the symptoms are seen after a recent injury or surgery, immediate consultation with a doctor must be done. The diagnosis of the condition is done by first analyzing the symptoms and doing a medical history check. After this, the doctor will order certain tests for clarification. The tests recommended may include:
- Blood tests including CBC, CRP, and ESR
- Blood culture to detect bacterial growth
- Needle aspiration
- Bone scan
The tests ordered will completely depend upon the physical examination done by the doctor along with medical history check. Plus, depending upon the diagnosis, the doctor will decide which treatment procedure to be followed.
The treatment of the condition aims at reducing the infection while eliminating the risk of the development of chronic infection. The Sooner the treatment is provided, the lower will be the risk of serious complications, and faster & better will be the recovery. The treatment provided for osteomyelitis may include:
- Drainage through needle aspiration
- Over-the-counter antibiotics to kill bacteria and prevent further growth
- Open surgery to scrape out affected bone
In certain surgical procedures performed to treat osteomyelitis, application of orthopedic implants might be there.
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