Treatment of osteomyelitis depends on how the infection has spread to the bone and how deeply it has penetrated. If the bone infection came from the blood and is a recent infection, treatment with high doses of oral antibiotics usually works. Oral antibiotics are prescribed against Staphylococcus aureus unless your doctor has identified another type of bacteria responsible for the infection.
As bacteria become more and more resistant to commonly used antibiotics, your doctor may take a sample of the infection to establish a culture. This study is essential in selecting the antibiotic with the highest probability.
If a fungal infection is suspected as the cause of the osteoarthritis, then an antifungal medication may be prescribed.
If the osteomyelitis is very severe, you may need to take intravenous antibiotics first and then switch to oral antibiotic pills once the infection is under control. People usually take 6 to 8 weeks, with the exception of recurrent infections or infections of the spinal vertebrae, which need 4-6 weeks of treatment.
For severe infections, surgical drainage of the pus buildup may be required. If the infection spreads from the surrounding soft tissue, the dead tissue and bone are surgically removed and the area filled with healthy bone, muscle or skin by inoculation before antibiotics are given.
If the artificial joint becomes infected, it must be surgically removed and replaced. Antibiotics are usually given before and after surgery. In rare cases, the infection may go untreated and the infected limb may need to be amputated or surgically fused to the joint.
Sometimes foot ulcers (infections caused by poor circulation) due to diabetes can spread to the bones of the feet. These infections are often difficult to treat with antibiotics alone, and sometimes the infected bone must be surgically removed. This is one of the top reasons why people with diabetes need to take care of their feet and follow their diet and treatment plans to keep their blood sugar in normal ranges. If diabetes is not controlled, ulcers and osteoarthritis cannot heal, which can lead to amputations.