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What is Osteomyelitis of the Knee?

Osteomyelitis of the knee also known as a knee infection is a condition characterized by swelling, pain, and tenderness in the joint. This infection is mainly caused due to the invasion of bacteria or fungi into the bone through the bloodstream.

Causes of Osteomyelitis of the Knee

Osteomyelitis of the knee is caused due to the following factors:

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Diabetes
  • Trauma
  • Immuno-compromised individuals 
  • Knee injury
  • Bacteremia
  • Infection after surgery
  • Foot ulcers

Symptoms of Osteomyelitis of the Knee

One of the most common symptoms of osteomyelitis of the knee is pain and inability to walk, other symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Tenderness on the knee
  • Inflammation  on the kneecap (patella)
  • Nausea 
  • Tiredness

Diagnosis of Osteomyelitis of the Knee

Your doctor will review your medical history and symptoms and based on this a physical examination of the knee will be performed. Your doctor may also recommend the following diagnostic tests:

  • X-rays: In this study, high electromagnetic energy beams are used to produce images of the bones.
  • CT scan: Special x-rays are used to produce images of any damage to the knee.
  • MRI Scan: An imaging study that uses a large magnetic field and radio waves to detect any damage to the soft tissues.
  • Bone Biopsy: This is an image-guided procedure in which a small sample of bone tissue is taken and observed under the microscope.

Treatment for Osteomyelitis of the Knee

The main goal of the treatment for osteomyelitis of the knee is to reduce infection and prevent any further complications. Some of the common therapeutic measures include:

  • Medications: Your doctor will recommend IV antibiotics to treat the infection. 
  • Pain management: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) will be prescribed to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Your doctor will advise you to rest the let and to restrict the movement of the affected area.

If conservative methods failed to improve the symptoms, surgery will be recommended this includes:

  • Drainage of the fluid: Your doctor will make a small incision near the infected bone to drain the pus or fluid that has accumulated.
  • Debridement: The infected bone will be removed to prevent the spread of infection to other areas.
  • Removal of screws or plates: Your doctor will remove any pre-existing surgical screws, plates, or pins inside the knee that could cause the infection.
  • Amputation: The whole or part of the infected knee will be removed if other treatment methods are found to be ineffective.