Osteomyelitis: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 11/1/2019

Osteomyelitis is an infection and inflammation of bone.

Signs and symptoms of osteomyelitis include

  • pain that may be severe,
  • fever,
  • chills,
  • swelling or redness over the infected bone,
  • warmth over the affected area,
  • stiffness,
  • irritability, and
  • nausea.

Other possible associated symptoms include

  • loss of range of motion of a joint in the affected area, and
  • difficulty walking (if the infection is in the lower limb).

Causes of osteomyelitis

Bacteria in the bloodstream from infectious diseases that spread to the bone, an open wound from trauma over a bone, and recent surgery around or in a bone can cause the infection. The most common types of bacteria that cause osteomyelitis include Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, and Enterobacteriaceae.

Other osteomyelitis symptoms and signs

  • Chills
  • Difficulty Walking
  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Loss of Range of Motion
  • Nausea
  • Severe Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling or Redness Over Infected Bone
  • Warmth Over Affected Area


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.