Osteomyelitis refers to a serious bone infection that can have devastating effects on the feet, ankles, and other areas of the body. The infection affects bone, but that isn’t always the origin as it can come through the blood, or from other tissue in the body. Trauma to a bone, or a severe wound can be the starting point of this infection. Germs, from something as common as a urinary tract infection, can travel through the blood and settle into a soft area of the bone where the infection finds a point of entry. No matter how osteomyelitis is introduced, it can spread rapidly.
This infection can affect both children and adults, but those with severe injuries, diabetes, the need for IVs or catheters, and compromised immune systems due to chemo are at greater risk. Symptoms can mirror other illnesses, so it’s important to seek medical attention if you experience fever, heat, pain, or swelling in the area of concern. In children, lethargy is a common sign that something is wrong.
Since diabetics are at particular risk for conditions of the feet and ankles, including osteomyelitis, they should take extra care. Performing regular self-exams of the feet is one way to carefully watch for signs of infection. Osteomyelitis can even become chronic among diabetic patients.
A bone biopsy is the best way to tell if you are suffering from this infection. Treatment can be difficult and ranges from IV antibiotics to surgery. In severe cases, amputation may be necessary.
Foot and ankle pain can be serious. Call Dr. Sanjay Patel right away if you are experiencing discomfort. You can schedule an appointment on our website, or call the Milford, CT office at (203) 876-7736 or the Hamden, CT office at (203) 288-4055. Let our friendly staff assist you in getting back on your feet.