Osteomyelitis - Symptoms

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What are osteomyelitis symptoms and signs?

Symptoms of osteomyelitis can vary greatly. In children, osteomyelitis most often occurs more quickly. They develop pain or tenderness over the affected bone, and they may have difficulty or inability to use the affected limb or to bear weight or walk due to severe pain. They may also have fever, chills, and redness at the site of infection.

In adults, the symptoms often develop more gradually and include fever, chills, irritability, swelling or redness over the affected bone, stiffness, and nausea. In people with diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, or peripheral vascular disease, there may be no pain or fever. The only symptom may be an area of skin breakdown that is worsening or not healing.

Acute osteomyelitis occurs with a rapid onset and is usually accompanied by the symptoms of pain, fever, and stiffness. It generally occurs after a break in the skin from injury, trauma, surgery, or skin ulceration from wounds.

Chronic osteomyelitis is insidious (slow) in onset. It may be the result of a previous infection of osteomyelitis. Despite multiple courses of antibiotics, it may reoccur. Symptoms of chronic osteomyelitis are subtle but may include fever, pain, redness, or discharge at the site of infection.

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Comment from: Katman0, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 02

I was a paramedic and I felt odd physically and months later I was mentally confused. This went on for over 18 months and was progressive with time. My friends, family and workmates were concerned and some of them thought I was drinking or doing drugs or both. I had periods of leg pain, sweats and chills, even night terrors. My family did an "intervention" and I was admitted to the hospital, where I was detoxed and diagnosed with a psychotic break by a shrink. At this point things got worse when I went home and I had to pay a nurse to take care of me for months. I was admitted to two other hospitals and I now was told I had cancer, heart problems some kind of infection which did not show elevated white blood cells. I woke up one morning and was in unbelievable pain in my left leg hip down and I could not walk, had temperature 104 and I had lost 70lbs from 220 to 150 in 6 months. I was told to put my affairs in order and go into rehabilitation. The rehab doctor called it in 6 hours, osteomyelitis, an odd sterile type. I was put on IV antibiotics for 12 weeks. I was in the hospital for 29 days, and the doctors and nurses didn't think I was going to live, or walk or I was not going to be all there if I made it through this at all. That was 7 years ago and I am disabled with a lumbar spine that hurts to even sit. This disease wrecked me and is chronic as this is progressive with age, I am now 55. I had septicemia and it took 4.5 years to get federal assistance.

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Comment from: betty, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: February 20

I"m 61 years old and when I was 9 years old I had the most excruciating pain in my right leg. I had a hard time walking for 3 days, on the 4th day I couldn"t walk at all. I had a fever and was crying with so much pain. My parents took me to the hospital for sick children. The doctor did a spinal tap and full checkup. I was then diagnosed with osteomyelitis. I spent two weeks in isolation and was given a shot of penicillin every 4 hours. I was then moved to a regular floor for another 2 weeks and was given penicillin intravenously. I was sent home after one month, then spent an additional month at home. I was walking with no problem after the first two weeks at home. I was totally fine after that and have never had problems with osteomyelitis again.

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