Fever or chills, along with swelling, warmth, redness and pain in the area of the infection are symptoms of osteomyelitis in the foot, notes Mayo Clinic. Diabetics with foot ulcers may develop osteomyelitis, an infection that starts in the bone or travels from surrounding infected tissue.
Osteomyelitis may cause no symptoms, or may be mistaken for another condition, states Mayo Clinic. People should see their doctors immediately if they experience worsening pain along with fever, or if they are at risk of infection due to a medical condition or recent surgery. Staphylococcus bacteria cause most cases of osteomyelitis, entering the feet through the bloodstream, infected tissue or through open wounds.
People with poorly controlled diabetes are at risk of developing osteomyelitis in their feet, as their blood vessels are damaged or blocked and do not properly carry cells that stop small infections from growing, notes Mayo Clinic. Diabetes may also affect the ability of the immune system to fight off infection. People who develop osteomyelitis of the foot may suffer from osteonecrosis, or bone death, requiring surgery to remove portions of dead bone. If this procedure is not successful, doctors may have to remove the affected foot. People with osteomyelitis may also develop septic arthritis as the infection spreads to joints, and are at higher risk of developing squamous cell cancer in the surrounding affected tissue.