Osteomyelitis is an acute or chronic inflammation of the bone due to an infection resulting from hematogenous spread, contiguous spread from soft tissues and joints to bone, or direct inoculation into bone from surgery or trauma.
The infection is generally due to a single microorganism but polymicrobial infections may also occur.
Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of infection.
Signs and symptoms include fever; inflammatory findings of erythema, warmth, pain and swelling over the involved area; draining sinus tracts over affected bone; limited movement of affected extremity; pain in the chest, back, abdomen or leg, and tenderness over involved vertebrae in patients with vertebral osteomyelitis; anorexia, vomiting and malaise.

Differential Diagnosis

  • Soft tissue infection
  • Osteonecrosis (avascular necrosis of bone) & Charcot arthropathy
  • Fracture, gout & bursitis
  • Bone infarction esp in patients w/ blood disorders eg hemoglobinopathy
  • Bone malignancy
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