Children’s bones, joints, and muscles can all become infected. The medical names for these infections, which are known as “deep” infections, are:
- Osteomyelitis is a condition in which the bones become inflamed (bone infection)
- Septic arthritis is a type of arthritis that occurs when the joints become infected (joint infection)
- Pyomyositis is a type of myositis in which the muscles are affected (muscle infection)
If a child has a bone or joint infection, the parents should consult a Pediatric Orthopedic Doctor. This Dr. Ratnav Ratan article discusses the most common types of bone and joint infections found in children.
Dr. Ratnav Ratan is the leading Orthopedic Doctor in Gurgaon’. He has more than thirteen years of experience in the following areas:
- limb reconstruction procedures
- pediatric orthopedics
- sports medicine
Infections of the bones and joints have a variety of causes.
Bacteria present in a child’s daily routine frequently cause infections. The most common bacteria that cause bone, joint, and muscle infections in children is Staphylococcus aureus.
Bacteria can enter the body of a child through a variety of routes.
The bacteria enter a joint, bone, or muscle through the bloodstream and spreads throughout the bone, collaborative, and muscle tissues.
Infections are hazardous for young children for a variety of reasons, some of which are listed below:
Growing children, especially those under the age of three, have underdeveloped immune systems, making them more susceptible to infections. When children get sick or hurt themselves, they become infected.
Infections spread quickly through a small child’s bloodstream and bone structure.
Infections can harm a child’s bones and joints, preventing them from growing and causing physical dysfunction.
Children’s symptoms of bone and joint infections
3.The infected area has limited mobility — if the infection affects the legs or back, a child may limp or refuse to walk. The child may be irritable and sleepy, refuse to eat, or vomit.
A recent injury has occurred in many children with bone and joint infections. The signs of such an injury can obscure symptoms of the disease. There is a delay in recognizing the infection because parents want their child’s condition to heal independently.
If a child’s symptoms do not improve at home, their parents must immediately take them to a specialist.
Children’s bone and joint infection diagnosis
Medical history and physical examination
The parents must inform the child’s doctor about the symptoms’ circumstances, such as when they first appeared and whether a previous infection was present.
After reviewing the child’s symptoms and medical records, the doctor will examine the infected area. The doctor may also instruct the child to move the affected area to see if it worsens the pain.
Other tests that can help the doctor confirm a diagnosis and plan treatment for the child include the following:
Tissue cultures and blood tests: Blood tests and tissues from the infected area can assist the doctor in determining the infection’s cause. The doctor can use this information to determine the best treatment options for the infection.
X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound scans produce images of the affected region’s organs and muscles. It aids the doctor in determining the source of the infection and administering treatment.
Treatment for infections of the bones and joints
Antibiotics in treatment.
Infection control relies heavily on antibiotic prescriptions.
Intravenous: To get antibiotics through veins, the child would first have to stay in the hospital. The severity of the infection will determine the length of the child’s stay in the hospital. Most children who have bone, joint, or muscle infections stay in the hospital for one to two weeks.
Oral: The antibiotic gets gradually converted to a form that can be consumed by mouth (oral) and delivered to the patient at home.
PICC line: A PICC line is an intravenous tube that allows some children to receive antibiotics via vein at home.
Antibiotics are used for a different amount of time, depending on the age of the child. On the other hand, a general bone infection takes 4 to 6 weeks to heal, while joint or muscle infections take 3 to 4 weeks.
The child should take all the antibiotics as directed by the doctor.
Antibiotics alone can treat minor infections. On the other hand, some children will require surgery to remove infectious substances (pus) from the infection site. This surgery will reduce blood pressure and inflammation while increasing blood flow, allowing antibiotics to reach the infected area.
For most children, one surgical procedure is usually sufficient. On the other hand, more severe infections may necessitate two or more procedures to help resolve the problem.
After a bone or joint infection has been treated, what happens next?
Most children will recover entirely from bone and joint infections after receiving adequate treatment. They are unlikely to contract the same condition again. If the child has no other problems after treatment, they can return to normal activities.
Children have a better chance of recovering quickly if an infection is detected early. The longer the condition goes undiagnosed, the more damage the bones, nerves, and other tissues sustain.
Some problems can arise in children who have had severe and long-term infections. Blood clots, growth stifling, deformed bones, fractures from infection-weakened tissue, and bone death are all examples (necrosis). These conditions, however, are uncommon.