Osteomyelitis occurs when you bone becomes infected through some sort of exposure to harmful bacteria (either because of surgery or fracture) or through the blood. Osteomyelitis is something that you may not have heard before. This is because it’s pretty rare (only affecting about 2 out of 10,000 people.) However if you do happen to develop osteomyelitis, it would be very important to immediately get treatment. Here is a list of things to look out for:
- Fever: Usually any sort of fever signals that there is something wrong with the body. The higher the fever, the more dire the situation is. If your fever is escalating quickly, go to the emergency room to get treatment immediately.
- Swelling: If your bone looks swollen and is tender to the touch, you most likely have an infection. It is impossible to tell how serious it is without seeing a doctor, so try and see a doctor as soon as possible to prevent the infection from getting worse.
- Warmth: If the bone area is unnaturally warm and ice doesn’t seem to be helping, you may have an infection. If it doesn’t get better with time, but only gets worse, you need to go to see a doctor immediately.
- Nausea: If you’re vomiting or feeling nauseous. you need medical attention right away. Vomiting due to a bone infection means that your body is having a lot of trouble fighting the infection and you need to see a doctor immediately.
An extra note: If you have diabetes (one of the most common reasons for developing osteomyelitis), sickle cell disease, rheumatoid arthritis, use a lot of drugs, are an alcoholic or just have poor blood supply, you are at a higher risk for getting affected.
If you notice that you have all of the above symptoms at the same time and it’s not due to another medical issue, you should get treatment right away. The faster you act, the easier it will be for your body to recover.
Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center has been treating patients for over eighteen years. If you have any questions, call our Centreville, VA office at 703-996-3000 or make an appointment here.