Osteomyelitis is an infectious inflammation of the bone marrow. Also commonly referred to as osteitis, it is usually caused by a fungal or bacterial infection in the body. The infection spreads to other parts of the body through the bloodstream.

Osteomyelitis can also occur from a staph infection. Individuals with diabetes are at high risk of developing staph infections. Foot infections are one of the most common types of infections caused in people with diabetes.

It can be accompanied by a; fever, chills, pain, swelling, and a sense of lethargy. Neurological symptoms, which include seizures and dizziness, appear as the infection progresses.

How is Osteomyelitis diagnosed?

MRI is typically used to evaluate the structure of the bone and surrounding soft tissue, if the findings on MRI are not definitive then bone scans are necessary.  Typically two types of bone scans must be done to differentiate bone infection from other types of bone diseases. If the diagnosis is still elusive then a bone biopsy (Needle aspiration) is often done to retrieve a bone sample from the region of bone involved. The sample helps in identifying the fungus or bacteria responsible for the infection. A blood test is also effective in detecting infection and bacteria in the blood stream.

How to Treat Osteomyelitis?

Osteomyelitis can be very difficult to treat. Osteomyelitis might require multiple types of treatment to cure the disease. Here are some options:

  • Antibiotics – Antibiotics can help your body fight off infection. Antibiotics are initially used to treat osteomyelitis infection. In cases of chronic osteomyelitis, antibiotic therapy is usually required for the rest of the patient’s life.
  • Surgery – Surgery is another option to clean the infected area around the bone.
  • Amputation – If a patient has not responded well to antibiotic treatment or surgery, the limb might need to be amputated.

It’s a good idea to contact your podiatrist at InMotion Foot and Ankle Specialists if you start noticing increasing pain in the bones of your feet. If you recently injured your foot or had surgery, you should also contact your podiatrist if you notice any signs of infection.