Osteomyelitis refers to an infection of the bone, due to either a blood-borne infection or infection resulting from surgery or a fracture. In most cases, the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria is responsible for osteomyelitis. Because of the range of infection sources, it can develop in children and adults. Diabetic patients with Stage III or Stage IV foot ulcers are more likely to contract osteomyelitis because of the deep wounds and increased exposure to bacteria.
Individuals with osteomyelitis experience symptoms of stiffness, tenderness, pain, and inflammation in the affected area. As the immune system fights the infection, they may also feel nausea, fever and/or chills. Diagnosis requires imaging, usually through a series of X-rays, to determine changes to the bone tissue and pinpoint the affected area. A bone biopsy may also be necessary to identify the bacterial strand responsible. Fortunately, oral antibiotic treatments are effective in most cases.