What are bone and joint infections?
Infections of the bone are called osteomyelitis. This can be caused by trauma (cutting a finger deeply with a knife), a wound such as a diabetic ulcer deepening down to the level of the bone, or infection from the blood stream lodging into the bone (often is the case with osteomyelitis of the spine or vertebrae). Joints can also get infected, either native or artificial (prosthetic). This can also be from direct trauma or from infections elsewhere getting into the blood stream and lodging in the joint.
What are the symptoms of bone and joint infections?
Infections can come on rapidly (acute) with pain while in the bone or with moving a joint such as the knee, swelling, redness of the skin over that area, and even fevers and chills. These infections can also come on more slowly, with a progressive stiffness and swelling or pain in the joint or bone, with or without fevers. At times the infections can push through the skin and cause bloody, clear, or drainage with pus.
What causes bone and joint infections?
Bacteria found mainly in bone and joint infections are staphylococcus and streptococcus. The type of bacteria found depends on where the infection is located, with diabetic foot ulcers often containing several different bacteria. Cultures are usually required to diagnose the bacteria and offer treatment.
Testing for bone and joint infections
This usually involves plain x-rays of the bone or joint, blood tests looking for inflammation (White blood count and C-Reactive Protein or CRP) and possibly an aspiration of some of the fluid from the joint or a biopsy of the bone to determine if there is an infection and what bacteria is causing it. Sometimes further imaging is needed such as a CT scan or MRI.
What We Treat
Specializing in inpatient and outpatient services and treatment for the following:
- Infections of the musculoskeletal system including septic arthritis of native joints, prosthetic (artificial) joints, and osteomyelitis (bone infections).
- These infections often take from 4-6 weeks to treat or longer. Often this has to be done with intravenous antibiotics. We work closely with the surgeons, medical teams, pharmacy, discharge planning teams, insurance companies and nursing staff who place long term IV lines (called PICC lines – peripherally inserted central catheters) to coordinate antibiotic care at home or in skilled nursing facilities or rehabilitation centers.
Conditions We Treat:
Prosthetic joint infections
Native joint septic arthritis
Diabetic ulcerations with osteomyelitis (bone infection)