Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone, often developing after an open fracture in which the bone pokes through the skin. It may also develop after an illness or injury that damaged the skin near or over a bone.

Symptoms may include:

  • A general feeling of illness (malaise).
  • Fever, chills, and sweating.
  • Deep bone pain.
  • Pain that is worse when pressing on the infected area or when standing.
  • Swollen and red skin (sometimes) over the affected bone.
  • Drainage of pus from the wound.

Antibiotic treatment is necessary to prevent destruction of bone tissue. If the osteomyelitis is severe, surgery may be required.

Current as of: August 21, 2015

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD