Bacteria are not only cause of colds or gastrointestinal infections, but also cause infections in our bones. In order to avoid permanent damage to bones and joints, early treatment is necessary. We inform you about different types of bone infections, typical symptoms as well as diagnosis and treatment of such an infection.
What is a bone infection?
Both components of our bones, external bone tissue and internal bone marrow, may be affected by a bone infection. If the bone marrow is inflamed, it is called osteomyelitis. Affects the infection only the bone tissue, there is an osteitis (or osteitis).
Since our bones are not so well supplied with blood as our lungs, the body's own defense against infections on the bone can not work so effectively. As a result, there is a so-called necrotizing inflammation, which leads to the death of the tissue. So the bone loses substance.
Endogenous and exogenous bone infections
The purulent infection of the bones is triggered by bacteria. Depending on how the pathogens get to their destination, whether the infection occurs suddenly or creeping and which bacteria are causal, different forms.
Exogenous bone infection When the pathogen enters the body from the outside and has direct contact with the bone, it is called an exogenous infection. This can happen during an injury, eg an open fracture, during an operation or during a puncture - ie a removal of body tissue with the help of a cannula.
Endogenous Bone Infection The bacteria can also enter the bones from another source of inflammation in the body, eg from a middle ear infection, via the blood system. In this case one speaks of an endogenous infection. Of an endogenous bone infection are usually children and adolescents, often boys, affected.
Acute and chronic bone infections
Acute Bone Infection If the bacteria have a very high infection power - that is called virulence - and the patient's defense mechanisms are weakened, this is called an acute bone infection. Those affected develop very pronounced symptoms very quickly.
Chronic Bone Infection On the other hand, if the virulence of the pathogen is low and the patient's immune system intact, it tends to become chronic. The disease develops gradually, the symptoms often appear only after some time (after more than 6 weeks) and sometimes not so strong.
Specific and unspecific bone infections
Specific bone infection Cause of a specific bone infection are the causative agents of leprosy, tuberculosis, syphilis or typhus. Tuberculosis is less common in western industrialized countries than in many Third World regions.
Non-specific bone infection The other bone infections caused by bacteria are called nonspecific bone infections. They are usually caused by bacteria belonging to the genus of staphylococci.