The term osteomyelitis means infection of the bones.

Children’s diseases of the bones are called what?

This infection affects the bone and is called osteomyelitis. Osteomyelitis is an acute condition when it occurs within a short period of time. The long bones of the arms and legs are more susceptible to osteomyelitis in children. This condition can, however, occur in any bone of the body. Children and adults of all ages may suffer from osteomyelitis. In nearly half of the cases, children younger than 5 years old are affected.

Acute osteomyelitis in children is caused by what?

The diseases of osteomyelitis are caused by bacterial infections that spread from the body to bones. A blood infection is the most common cause of osteomyelitis in children. Children’s growing bones have increased blood supplies due to their growing size. Bacteria are therefore more likely to get into the bones. Occasionally, osteomyelitis is caused by an infection in nearby soft tissues or from a wound.

Staphylococcus aureus, or “Staph,” is the bacteria most commonly responsible for osteomyelitis in children.

Do the following symptoms characterize osteomyelitis in children?

The following symptoms

characterize osteomyelitis:

  • Fever
  • Fussiness or grouchiness
  • Tiredness
  • Here are some possibilities that may occur in the area of an infected bone:
    • Soreness or pain
    • You shouldn’t use the arm, leg, or another part of your body that’s affected.
    • Swelling
    • Redness


Consider having your child evaluated by an orthopaedic specialist if you think your child has osteomyelitis. Other health issues may be causing these symptoms. Always make sure you discuss your child’s symptoms with his or her healthcare provider.

What is the diagnostic method for osteomyelitis in children?

The physical exam and the development of sudden symptoms are critical to the diagnosis of osteomyelitis.

The following tests may be conducted on your child:

  • Blood culture. Bacteriological testing is performed on a blood sample.
  • Blood tests. There may be an infection in the body if abnormal results are obtained.
  • Imaging tests. X-rays are usually regular within the first 8-10 days following the onset of symptoms. CT scans are not the preferred investigation. MRI with contrast is. It assists in identifying infection at an early stage in order to prevent its further progress.

What is the treatment for osteomyelitis in children?

The treatment for your child will depend on the severity of their symptoms, their age, and their general health. The severity of the condition will also determine treatment.

A surgical emergency is if the MRI only suggests acute osteomyelitis. Osteomyelitis decompression & drainage surgery is the clinical name for the operation. Ultimately, in order to find an antibiotic that will be effective against the bacteria present in the pus, a lab culture & identification of the pus are conducted. A vein will then be injected with an IV (intravenous) line to administer antibiotics. Your child is likely to be on IV medicine for several days. Some children may be on medication for several weeks at a time. Oral antibiotics will usually be taken for several weeks in the following weeks. The pain will usually be relieved with other treatments.

What are the possible complications of osteomyelitis in children? 

Generally, antibiotics are effective in treating infections. Children may become infected in the long term, but chronic disease isn’t expected.

What is the best time to call my child’s healthcare provider?

In the event that your child exhibits any of these symptoms, you should contact a healthcare provider.

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, as prescribed for you by your healthcare provider.
  • Fussiness or grouchiness
  • Tiredness

The following conditions should also be reported to the provider if your child has any of them in the area of infection:

  • Soreness or pain
  • Not using that part of the body
  • Swelling
  • Redness

Osteomyelitis in children: Important points to remember

  • Infections of the bones are osteomyelitis.
  • This condition is more common among children with long bones.
  • This frequently occurs from blood infections among children.
  • Surgical treatment is essential and should begin as soon as possible.
  • An antibiotic is typically prescribed for osteomyelitis.