• Infection in the bone.
  • Can occur in all age groups.
    • Different types of bacteria per age group.
  • In children, most common site of infection: ends of long bones of arms and legs, affecting the adjacent joints.
  • In adults, infection is more common in the spinal bones, feet or pelvis .

Symptoms may vary greatly.

In children, infection is more rapid and manifests as:

  • Pain or tenderness over affected bone.
  • Difficulty or inability to use affected limb or to bear weight or walk.
  • Fever, chills and redness at infection site.

In adults, symptoms are more gradual and manifest as:

  • Fever, chills, irritability, swelling or redness over the affected bone, stiffness, nausea.

In individuals with diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, or peripheral vascular disease, there may be no pain or fever.

  • The only symptom may be an area of skin breakdown that is worsening or not healing.

Acute osteomyelitis:

  • Rapid onset with symtoms of pain, fever, and stiffness.
  • Usually occurs after a break in the skin from injury, trauma, surgery, or skin ulceration from wounds.

Chronic osteomyelitis:

  • Slow (insidious) onset with symptoms of fever, pain, redness, or discharge at the site of infection.
    • May be the result of a previous infection of osteomyelitis.
    • Reoccurence is possible Despite multiple courses of antibiotics.


Physician may do/request:

  • History & Physical Exam
  • Laboratory tests
    • Complete blood count (CBC)
    • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
    • C-reactive protein (CRP)
    • Blood culture
  • Imaging tests
    • X-ray
    • CT scan
    • MRI
    • Ultrasound
  • Bone biopsy



  • Antibiotics and pain medications
  • Immobilization using a brace
  • Surgery

Related Articles


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Tetralogy of Fallot is a congenital heart defect that affects the [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Trichinosis, also known as trichinellosis, is a parasitic infection caused by [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Trigeminal neuralgia is a neurological condition characterized by severe facial pain. [...]