Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone. It's a rare disease, but it can be serious.
It can occur when bacteria (or less commonly, fungi) enter the body through a wound, surgery, or diabetic foot ulcers.
Doctors treat osteomyelitis with antibiotics and sometimes surgery.
Call the UPMC Center for Care of Infectious Diseases to learn more or make an appointment at 412-647-7228 or 1-877-788-7228.
Osteomyelitis is a painful bone infection. The National Organization for Rare Disorders estimates that two to five per 10,000 people in the U.S. get osteomyelitis each year.
Osteomyelitis affects men and women equally and can occur at any age, but often happens in:
Osteomyelitis can be acute (comes on quickly) or chronic (long-term).
In kids, it's mostly acute. In adults, it can be acute or chronic.
People with diabetes, chronic vascular disease, or a weakened immune system are more likely to have chronic osteomyelitis.
In children, osteomyelitis usually occurs in the long bones of the arms or legs. In adults, it's most often in the spine, feet, or hips.
Osteomyelitis forms when an infection from bacteria or fungi spreads to the bone. Most often, the cause is a staph infection. These germs live on the skin of even healthy people.
Bacteria can enter the bone through:
You're at greater risk for osteomyelitis if you:
If left untreated, complications from osteomyelitis include:
While you can't always prevent this bone infection, you can take steps to lower your risk.
Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:
To diagnose osteomyelitis, your doctor will:
You may need tests such as:
The doctors at UPMC Center for Care of Infectious Diseases are experts at treating acute and chronic osteomyelitis. Their goal is to get rid of the infection and reduce damage to your bones and surrounding areas.
Treatments may include:
Early treatment of osteomyelitis can keep it from becoming a chronic condition. Be sure to tell your doctor about any symptoms of bone infection.
To learn more about the UPMC Center for Care of Infectious Diseases or to make an appointment, call 412-647-7228 or 1-877-788-7228.