Do Not Ignore Swelling And Irritation, These Can Be Signs Of Bone Infection
Bone infection is an infection-related swelling or inflammation of the bone tissue. The infection may spread to the bone if it is infected by bacteria or, less frequently, fungus.
Swelling around the infected bone is a sign of bone infection
Osteomyelitis, another name for a bone infection, is an infection-related swelling or inflammation of the bone tissue. The infection may spread to the bone if it is infected by bacteria or, less frequently, fungus. Some bacteria have an immediate effect, while others take much longer. Although while most people won't encounter serious consequences, symptoms usually start to show after the bone has become contaminated. Yet, they can have a significant impact on quality of life. This could be threatening because the infection can worsen and spread rapidly.
Most common signs of a bone infection:
- Redness or warmth near the area of the infection
- Infection-related discomfort or tenderness
- Swelling around the infected bone
- Reduced range of motion
Cause of bone infection
A bone infection may spread to a bone via the bloodstream or from nearby tissue. Infections can also start in the bone itself if it is injured and exposed to germs. Any metal plates that are near to the bone infection may need to be removed. A bone infection is more likely to affect those with conditions like diabetes. A person is more at risk of getting an infection in a bone if they have:
- Underwent a surgical procedure for a recently broken bone
- Have been injured or have an open fracture and wound
- Had an artificial hip or a screw in a bone
- Weakened immune system
- Undergoing chemotherapy, or you have any serious illness
- Had a bone infection previously
- Had diabetes, especially a foot ulcer
- Sometimes even an infection in the blood affects the bone
Available treatment options
Depending on the severity of the condition, different patients will respond differently to treatment for a bone infection. The most common treatment options are:
Use of antibiotics: Antibiotics are used to combat the infection. In many cases, if antibiotics are able to treat the bone infection, surgery can be avoided. Patients can take antibiotics orally or intravenously.
Surgical removal of infection: Surgery may be required to remove dead bone tissue if the infection cannot be controlled with oral medicines. It could be necessary to remove any metal plates that are close to the bone infection. A bone graft or packing material that encourages the formation of new bone tissue may be used to fill the empty space left by the removed bone tissue.
Amputation: An amputation could well be performed to stop the infection from spreading if all other therapies have failed.
Infections should be treated thoroughly and promptly. If a person experiences worsening bone pain coupled with a fever or any other infection-related symptoms, or if they are at risk for infection as a result of a disease, a recent operation, an accident, or both, it is crucial that they see a doctor.
(Dr. Gurdeep Avinash Ratra is a Consultant Orthopedics at Manipal Hospitals, Gurugram)
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