Osteomyelitis is a bone infection. It is mainly caused by bacteria or other germs.
Bone infection is most often caused by bacteria. But it can also be caused by fungi or other germs. When a person has osteomyelitis:
- Bacteria or other germs may spread to a bone from infected skin, muscles, or tendons next to the bone. This may occur under a skin sore.
- The infection can start in another part of the body and spread to the bone through the blood.
- The infection can also start after bone surgery. This is more likely if the surgery is done after an injury or if metal rods or plates are placed in the bone.
In children, the long bones of the arms or legs are most often involved. In adults, the feet, spine bones (vertebrae), and hips (pelvis) are most commonly affected.
Risk factors are: