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Discharge Instructions for Osteomyelitis

You have a condition called osteomyelitis. Osteomyelitis is a bone infection caused by bacteria. The infection may have come from one area of your body and spread to the bone by traveling through the blood. Osteomyelitis is described as “acute” when the infection is new, and “chronic” when you have had the infection before. Below are care tips you can follow at home to help you feel better.

Home Care

  • Take your medication exactly as directed. If you were given antibiotics, take all of them—even if you feel better. If you don’t finish the medication, the infection may return. Not finishing the medication can also make any future infections more difficult to treat.

  • Be careful in your daily life. Your bones have been weakened by the infection. So until the infection is gone and the bone heals, you have a higher risk of breaking a bone.

  • Rest when you are tired. It is important to save your energy. If you walk around when you are tired, you are more likely to fall and break a bone.

  • Use a splint, sling, or brace as directed by your doctor. Doing so helps lower your risk of breaking a bone.

  • Ask your doctor about taking calcium supplements.

Follow-Up

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

 

When to Seek Medical Attention

Call 911 right away if you have any of the following:

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

Otherwise, call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Increasing pain in an arm or leg

  • Neck or back pain

  • Pain that is not relieved by medication

  • Pain or swelling in the infected area

  • Fever above 100.4°F (38°C) or shaking chills

  • Redness, warmth, and swelling of a joint or bony area

  • Muscle spasms

  • Problems holding your urine

  • Nausea or vomiting

Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Akin, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRC
Last Review Date: 3/4/2013
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.