When a child has a bone infection that spreads from the bloodstream, symptoms include fever and some pain in the infected bone. It may also be difficult to move the affected area, as the limb will often become swollen and tender.
In adults, symptoms usually develop slowly and the spinal vertebrae are often infected. Symptoms include soreness, swelling, redness, and soreness that often cannot be relieved with pain relievers, heating pads, or rest. Unlike children, adults with osteomyelitis usually do not have a fever.
If osteoarthritis develops as a result of an infection from the surrounding soft tissue or goes through a crack in the bone, it causes pain and swelling in the area above the bone. The inflammation will build up in the area and form an abscess in the skin or nearby soft tissue. Again, such infections do not cause fever. Blood tests are usually normal.
If the person has an artificial joint that is infected, it will cause constant pain. If a bone infection is not properly treated, it can become chronic.
There will also be pain and recurrent infections in soft tissue such as the muscle and skin surrounding the infected bone. The inflammation also drains from the bone into and out of the skin through a passage it creates called a sinus.
Occasionally, osteomyelitis (for example, when it occurs in the shinbone) may persist for many years or even decades, but may not be apparent. People are aware of a scar in the area and occasionally see pus, but it can close again and they ignore it.