OSTEOMYELITIS: A Cause of Bone Pain

It is a pyogenic (bacteria) infection of the bone. It is very disastrous and quite difficult to treat. In fact, if not treated on time, it can cause BONE DEATH in case of chronic osteomyelitis.

The most common cause is staphylococcus aureus but sickle cell disease patients are as well susceptible to Salmonella spp.

Image of a patient’s leg with chronic osteomyelitis

In fact, chronic osteomyelitis globally remains a major cause of musculoskeletal morbidity (bone problem).

RISK FACTORS FOR DEVELOPING OSTEOMYELITIS

  1. Trauma
  2. Prolonged use of steroid
  3. Diabetes mellitus
  4. Commoner in children
  5. Sickle cell disease

CLINICAL FEATURES

  1. Pain
  2. Swelling
  3. Fever
  4. Refusal to bear weight
  5. Sinus in case of chronic osteomyelitis

INVESTIGATIONS

Your doctor will request for the following investigations:

  1. Blood culture
  2. Full blood count
  3. X-ray of the bone: – Though this can only detect extensive bone loss and cannot be relied on, especially in early disease.
  4. Computed tomography
  5. Magnetic resonance imaging. This is the investigation of choice.

TREATMENT

The line of management is both medical and surgical. You will DEFINITELY need your doctor.

FURTHER READING

  1. Bailey and Love’s Short Practice of Surgery.
  2. The bone and joint journal, London.