Recent injury or orthopedic surgery A severe bone fracture or a deep puncture wound gives bacteria a route to enter your bone or nearby tissue. A deep puncture wound, such as an animal bite or a nail piercing through a shoe, can also provide a pathway for infection.
Organisms that invade a severe injury, deep cut, or wound can also cause infections in nearby bones. Bacteria can enter your system at a surgical site, such as the site of a hip replacement or bone fracture repair. When your bone breaks, bacteria can invade the bone, leading to osteomyelitis.
Development of osteomyelitis in a closed fracture is rare. Although it has been reported that trivial trauma may be associated with the subsequent development of acute osteomyelitis, no evidence has been found that fractures are involved in the etiology of osteomyelitis.
Post-traumatic osteomyelitis may occur after a compound fracture, a broken bone that breaks the skin, an open wound to surrounding skin and muscle, or after surgery, especially if metal pins, screws or plates are used to secure broken bones.
Infection after a closed fracture is rare. Whereas open fractures are considered contaminated, closed fractures are assumed to be uncontaminated and have an extremely low risk of infection.
The most common complication in children with osteomyelitis is recurrence of bone infection.
Osteomyelitis is a bacterial, or fungal, infection of the bone. Osteomyelitis affects about 2 out of every 10,000 people. If left untreated, the infection can become chronic and cause a loss of blood supply to the affected bone. When this happens, it can lead to the eventual death of the bone tissue.
Acute osteomyelitis develops rapidly over a period of seven to 10 days. The symptoms for acute and chronic osteomyelitis are very similar and include: Fever, irritability, fatigue. Nausea.
Osteomyelitis complications may include: Bone death (osteonecrosis). An infection in your bone can impede blood circulation within the bone, leading to bone death. Areas where bone has died need to be surgically removed for antibiotics to be effective.
In adults, osteomyelitis most often affects the vertebrae of the spine and/or the hips. However, extremities are frequently involved due to skin wounds, trauma and surgeries.
Complicated fracture – structures surrounding the fracture are injured. There may be damage to the veins, arteries or nerves, and there may also be injury to the lining of the bone (the periosteum) Comminuted fracture – the bone is shattered into small pieces. This type of complicated fracture tends to heal more slowly.
Stable: With a stable fracture, the broken ends of the bone are lined up and barely out of place. This type of fracture doesn’t require any type of realignment. Open, compound: An open, compound fracture occurs when the bone breaks through the skin or the force causes an open wound when the fracture occurs.
Symptoms of a broken or fractured bone may include:
Severe injury or surgery. Any process that causes trauma to your skin and underlying tissue, including an injury or frostbite, increases your risk of developing gangrene, especially if you have an underlying condition that affects blood flow to the injured area.
Even with surgery, there may be a residual weakness in the bone. It is also possible that the fracture will become infected. This usually happens if the bone has broken the skin. If the infection becomes gangrenous, the surrounding tissue may die (become necrotic) and will need to be surgically removed.
Can you get an infection from a fracture? The simple answer is yes. However, most broken bones do not lead to infections. In rare cases, fractures, particularly open fractures, can lead to infection and a long treatment and recovery process.