Bone or Joint Infections

Infections in bones or joints is uncommon.  If you suspect you or your child has a bone or joint infection, contact your doctor immediately for early diagnosis and treatment.

Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone, usually by a pus-forming bacteria. Usually the bacteria enters the bone by injury such as by a sharp object or open fracture or by the blood stream.  Both the bone and the bone marrow may be infected.

The site of infection can be anywhere in the body.  In children the long bones are usually affected.  In adults, the vertebrae and the pelvis are most commonly affected.  Osteomyelitis tends to occur near the joints of the limbs.  Symptoms include deep pain and muscle spasms in the area of inflammation, redness, warmth and fever.  In children watch for and suspect infection if your child has pain or swelling in the limbs, spine, or pelvis.  Your child may limp or refuse to walk.

Treatment is bed rest, antibiotics, usually intravenously, and sometimes surgical debridement or surgery to remove dead bone tissue.

Septic arthritis develops when bacteria spreads through the bloodstream to a joint. Symptoms may include redness, warmth and inflammation around the affected area.  You may also experience stiffness, loss of range of motion and a fever.  Diagnosis is made by analysis of fluid that has been removed from the joint.  Treatment is by antibiotic medication and drainage of infected joint fluid. Also called bacterial or infectious arthritis, suppurative arthritis, and pyarthrosis.