Osteomyelitis is an infection that spread to the bone. The infection may have started in any other part of the body, but because blood is re-circulated every hour, an infection in the upper part of the body could end up in the foot causing an infection in the toe! Osteomyelitis may occur in any bone of the body, but it is more common for the bones of the feet, spine, and pelvis to develop this condition. When osteomyelitis occurs, there is a lot of pain in the body since bones have receptors that give off pain signals. Fever, swelling, heat sensations and redness will also occur. Cause There is only one cause of osteomyelitis: an infection of the soft tissues – skin, muscles, tendons or ligaments. This can be induced by trauma but it may happen without trauma. There are many different conditions that can predispose a person to develop osteomyelitis: 1. Weakened condition, such as protein calorie malnutrition 2. Weakened immunity 3. Diabetes 4. Prior injury to a bone leaving that bone in a weakened state 5. Occasionally, the use of certain prescription medications may be linked with the development of osteomyelitis. Treatment and Prevention When there is a possibility of osteomyelitis, medical attention should be sought immediately. Infections of the bone can result in parts of the bone ‘eaten away’ by the infection with areas of dying tissue, and as a result, necessitate surgery involving bone grafts if the condition becomes grave. In some unfortunate cases, amputation is necessary. Seeking medical attention early in the game is the best way to prevent further tragedy. Medical treatment involves eliminating the infection as soon as possible by using medications and IV drips if necessary. In cases of osteomyelitis, the nutrition of the patient should be immediately attended to. To recover from an infection, higher levels of protein and calories as well as specific nutrients such as vitamin A, C, E and D are needed. If the osteomyelitis affects the bones of the foot, the swelling will prevent the usual shoes from being worn.