We often hear about people getting skin and ear infections, but did you know infections can occur in your bones? Osteomyelitis is a rare but serious condition affecting all ages. In children, the infection usually strikes the long bones in the arms and legs, while in adults, common areas of infection are the vertebrae, hips, and feet. People with diabetes are predisposed to foot ulcers, which could also lead to osteomyelitis.
Cause – Osteomyelitis is most often caused by a staph bacteria, which spreads infection from external and internal injuries by travelling through the bloodstream to the bone.
Symptoms – Onset of symptoms can be acute or gradual
- Pain, tenderness, inflammation at site of infection
- Decreased range of motion
Diagnosis & Treatment – Many conditions cause similar symptoms, so figuring out if a person has osteomyelitis requires careful and thorough testing by an experienced podiatrist like Dr. Ryan L. D’Amico. The following procedures may be done at an appointment:
- Physical examination to check swelling and tenderness
- Blood tests to determine if the body is fighting an infection.
- X-rays to check for damage to the bones
- MRI & CAT scans to see details in bones and surrounding tissues.
- Bone biopsies to confirm osteomyelitis and determine what type of germ caused the infection.
- Antibiotics – Antibiotics help minimize and beat the infection so that surgery may be avoided.
- Pain medication and immobilization of the infected area
- Surgery – If the infection is severe or chronic, removal of infected/dead tissue and bone is necessary.
Preventing infections by keeping wounds clean minimizes the possibility of osteomyelitis. However, if you are experiencing persistent pain and fevers, it is important to see an experienced board certified podiatrist like Ryan L. D’Amico, DPM to rule out this condition. Dr. D’Amico serves the Syracuse area and has a reputation for treating patients with the utmost care and will stop at nothing to help ease your discomfort. If you suspect osteomyelitis, or have any other foot and ankle problems, Syracuse Podiatry can help. For an appointment, please contact our office in Fayetteville, NY at (315) 446-3668.