Bone infections, or osteomyelitis, involve inflammation of the bone, usually caused by a bacterial infection. In children, the bacteria are most often Staphylococcus aureus (staph infection) and is primarily carried through the blood.
Preschool-aged children account for about half of bone infection cases because of the rich blood supply in their growing bones. In both children and adolescents, bone infections happen most often in long bones of the legs and arms. If untreated, bone infection can cause severe complications, including:
In addition to staph, other types of bacteria that can cause bone infections include:
The most common symptoms of a bone infection are severe pain and swelling around the infected area. Other symptoms include:
If your child has any of these symptoms, your pediatrician may suspect a bone infection. In older children and adolescents, bone infections can occur after an injury such as a broken bone. Your physician will examine your child and ask about any recent injuries. Other tests that help diagnose bone infection include:
Once your physician has determined the type of bacteria that is causing your child’s bone infection, he or she can choose the appropriate treatment for it. Some options include:
From sprains and strains to complex congenital, Children’s National offers one of the most experienced pediatric orthopaedic practices in the nation with experience in treating all areas from head to toe.
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