Osteomyelitis is a bone infection caused by bacteria or other germs.
Bone infection - children; Infection - bone - children
A bone infection is most often caused by bacteria. It can also be caused by fungi or other germs. In children, the long bones of the arms or legs are most often involved.
When a child has osteomyelitis:
Other risk factors include:
Osteomyelitis symptoms include:
Infants with osteomylitis may not have a fever or other signs of illness. They might avoid moving the infected limb due to pain.
Your child's health care provider will perform a physical examination and ask about the symptoms your child is having.
Tests that your child's provider may order include:
The goal of treatment is to stop the infection and reduce damage to the bone and surrounding tissues.
Antibiotics are given to destroy the bacteria causing the infection:
Surgery may be needed to remove dead bone tissue if the child has an infection that does not go away.
If your child was treated in the hospital for osteomyelitis, be sure to follow the provider's instructions on how to care for your child at home.
With treatment, the outcome for acute osteomyelitis is usually good.
The outlook is worse for those with long-term (chronic) osteomyelitis. Symptoms may come and go for years, even with surgery.
Call your child's provider if:
Dabov GD. Osteomyelitis. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, Canale ST, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 21.
Kaplan SL. Osteomyelitis. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 684.
Krogstad P. Osteomyelitis. In: Cherry JD, Harrison GJ, Kaplan SL, Steinbach WJ, Hotez PJ, eds. Feigin and Cherry's Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 55.