What Are Some Symptoms of Osteomyelitis?


Quick Answer

Symptoms of osteomyelitis include nausea, fever, fatigue, irritability and swelling around the affected bone, notes WebMD. Additional symptoms include warmth, tenderness and redness in the infection area and decreased range of motion. Symptoms of osteomyelitis in the vertebrae include severe back pain, often at night.

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Full Answer

Osteomyelitis is an infection of bone, as reported by WebMD. Although rare, it is a very serious condition. Staphylococcus aureus causes osteomyelitis in a majority of cases. Conditions that increase risk for osteomyelitis include diabetes, HIV or AIDS, sickle cell disease, rheumatoid arthritis and recent injury. Alcoholism, intravenous drug use, hemodialysis and long-term steroid use also increase a person's risk of developing osteomyelitis.

Doctors utilize blood tests, X-rays, bone scans, MRI and bone biopsy to diagnose osteomyeitis, states WebMD. After diagnosis, treatment centers on stopping the infection from spreading. Doctors usually prescribe intravenous antibiotics for a period of several weeks before changing to antibiotic pills. Early treatment is essential to avoid complications and ensure the best chance of recovery. Serious or chronic cases of osteomyelitis may require surgery.

Cleanliness is the most effective way to prevent osteomyelitis, according to WebMD. People should wash all cuts completely, flushing out open wounds underneath running water for five minutes.

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