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Bone Infection: What to Look For

Bone infection is most often caused by bacteria. But it can also be caused by fungi or other germs. When a person has a bone infection (or osteomyelitis), bacteria or other germs has likely spread to the bone from infected skin, muscles, or tendons next to it. This may occur under a skin sore.

The infection can also start in another part of the body and spread to the bone through the blood. Or, the infection can also start after bone surgery. This is more likely if the surgery is done after an injury or if metal rods or plates are placed in the bone.

Symptoms of osteomyelitis include:
--Bone pain
--Excessive sweating
--Fever and chills
--General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise)
--Local swelling, redness, and warmth
--Open wound that may show pus
--Pain at the site of infection

With treatment, the outcome for acute osteomyelitis is often good.

The outlook is worse for those with long-term (chronic) osteomyelitis. Symptoms may come and go for years, even with surgery. Amputation may be needed, especially in people with diabetes or poor blood circulation.

Knowing the symptoms of a bone infection is important. Immediately contact the doctor should you have any of the symptoms for the conditions stated above.