Skip to Content



Osteomyelitis is a severe bone infection. It can develop in any bone, but often involves the long bones, such as your arm and leg bones. Osteomyelitis is caused by different types of germs, such as bacteria or a fungus.



  • Medicine will be given to fight the infection and to decrease pain or fever.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your primary healthcare provider (PHP) if you think your medicine is not helping or you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Rest and immobilization:

You may need to rest and wear a splint to help your bone heal. Ask your PHP for more information about rest and splints.

Eat a variety of healthy foods:

Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.

Do not smoke:

If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask your PHP for information if you need help quitting.

Control other medical conditions:

Control other medical conditions, such as diabetes, to prevent more bone damage.

Wound care:

Care for your wound as directed. Carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty.

Follow up with your PHP as directed:

You may need to return for more blood tests or x-rays. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your PHP if:

  • Your symptoms return.

  • You have increased swelling, pain, or redness of your infected area.

  • You have new drainage or an odor from your wound.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have sudden trouble breathing.

  • You have severe pain.

  • Your bone breaks.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.