Osteomyelitis is a rare and serious condition caused by an infection of a bone. There are a few ways that bones can become infected, the most common ways are if an already existing infection in your body spreads through your bloodstream and makes its way into the bone, or if you have had surgery where a bone was exposed to an infection. Open fractures are also a common cause of Osteomyelitis.

Causes of osteomyelitis

A bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus (a type of staph bacteria) is the main culprit for causing osteomyelitis. Diabetes and other chronic conditions also increase the risk of getting osteomyelitis.

Osteomyelitis affects adults and children, and only 2 out of every 10,000 people will get this infection. As mentioned above, there are certain chronic conditions and behaviours that impair your immune system, which, in turn, increases your risk of getting osteomyelitis. These conditions can include:

  • Poor blood supply
  • AIDS or HIV
  • Intravenous drug use
  • Diabetes
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Alcoholism
  • Hemodialysis
  • Sustained a recent injury
  • Bone surgery
  • Hip or knee replacements

Osteomyelitis symptoms

Osteomyelitis can develop extremely quickly, sometimes as fast as seven days. Acute and chronic osteomyelitis symptoms are very similar, and they are:

  • Nausea
  • Redness, warmth, and tenderness in the infected area
  • Fever, fatigue, irritability
  • Lost range of motion
  • Swelling around affected bones

If you are suffering from osteomyelitis in your vertebrae, it will cause severe back pain and makes it well known at night.

Difference between osteomyelitis in children and adults

Osteomyelitis in adults can be either chronic or acute. Adults with chronic osteomyelitis may persist due to diabetes, HIV, or peripheral vascular disease despite treatment. Osteomyelitis will often affect the pelvis or vertebrae of the spine, no matter if the infection is chronic or acute. If the adult has diabetes, it can also be found in the feet.

Osteomyelitis in children is usually acute and is easier to treat than chronic osteomyelitis. The infection is normally found in the arm and leg bones of the child.

Treating Osteomyelitis

The first step, and most difficult, in treating osteomyelitis is figuring out of the person has the infection. A doctor will have to perform X-rays, MRI, bone scans, and blood tests to get a full picture of what’s going on in your bones. They will also need to do a bone biopsy to confirm that a patient has osteomyelitis.

Most people are prescribed antibiotics, require surgery, or both to treat their osteomyelitis. The antibiotics will control the infection to make it possible to avoid surgery. A more serious or chronic infection will require surgery to remove the infected bone and tissue. In rare cases, amputation is the only good option to prevent the infection from spreading through your body.

Ontario HBOT is a revolutionary company that uses Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, which is a non-invasive medical treatment, to enhance the natural healing process of the body. A patient will be inhaling 100% pure oxygen in the body chamber which has an atmospheric pressure three times the normal air pressure  allow the lungs to gather more oxygen. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is great for healing serious bone infections, like osteomyelitis, and other conditions like decompression sickness, bubbles of air in blood vessels, and wounds that have not fully healed due to diabetes or radiation injury. If you would like more information about Ontario HBOT and how it can help heal your osteomyelitis, please call us at 416-789-4268 or fill out the contact us form on our website!