Periostitis (periostitis)

Inflammation of the periosteum primarily affects athletes. In joggers and athletes, she often appears on the shins. In addition, however, the inflammation on the elbows, wrists, knees or heel can be noticeable. Cause of periostitis is usually an overload, but it is also a bacterial infection in question. Typical symptoms include pain and swelling of the affected areas. For a periostitis, which is due to an overload, especially physical care is important. In a bacterial infection, treatment with antibiotics.

Causes of periostitis

The periosteum is a connective tissue covering almost the entire surface of the bone. In periostitis, this shell is inflamed. Since the periosteum contains many nerves in addition to blood and lymph vessels, such inflammation is usually relatively painful.

There are several causes behind periostitis. It is particularly often caused by an overload, such as in sports. Possible triggers include:

  • too intensive or extensive training
  • Change in training conditions, such as changing the flooring
  • Change in technology
  • wrong footwear or inappropriate inserts
  • foot deformities

Periostitis by pathogens

In addition to an overload, periostitis can also be caused by pathogens such as viruses or bacteria. Often, the symptoms then occur as part of a bone or bone marrow inflammation.

The pathogens can enter the body through injury or surgery. On the other hand, it is also possible that the pathogens reach the periosteum via the bloodstream from other sources of disease in the body. This can be the case with syphilis, tuberculosis and typhoid, among others.

Typical symptoms of periostitis

Whether on the tibia, on the elbow or on the heel, an inflammation of the periosteum is always accompanied by pain. These are noticeable especially when moving or under pressure. But sometimes they can also be quiet.

However, it is typical that the pain subsides at rest, but flare up again at the next sporting exercise. Sometimes the painful area is reddened or feels warm.

In addition to pain, swelling of the affected area is one of the symptoms that can occur in periostitis. In addition, there is often a restriction of freedom of movement.

Treat a periostitis

The treatment of periostitis depends on the underlying cause. If a bacterial infection is behind the symptoms, it is usually treated with antibiotics. In the event of overloading, sufficient rest is especially important. In addition, the pain can be alleviated by cooling and anti-inflammatory drugs. In rare cases, a surgical removal of the inflammatory focus may be necessary.

Inflammations of the periosteum can be extremely tedious, sometimes it takes several months for the pain to disappear completely. Even after a longer symptom-free time, it can happen that pain suddenly reappears. This is especially the case when training is started too soon.

In general, it is advisable to increase the training slowly after the inflammation has subsided: Do not train too long at the beginning and not too often. If pain occurs, you should stop exercising. Try to dodge other sports too, such as swimming instead of jogging. If you continue training despite periostitis, the inflammation can become chronic in the worst case.

When to the doctor?

In case of very intense or constantly recurring symptoms, you should consult a doctor early. This can rule out another cause and detect the exact cause of periostitis. In most cases, diagnostic imaging techniques such as an X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging or bone scintigraphy are used to determine the diagnosis.

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