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Pediatric Bone, Joint, and Muscle Infections

Bone, joint, and muscle infections, also known as musculoskeletal infections, occur most commonly in toddlers and young children. If bacteria enter the body, they can find their way to the musculoskeletal system, leading to infection. When treated early, most children with bone and joint infections have a positive outcome.

What are bone, joint, and muscle infections?

Bone Infection (Osteomyelitis)

Osteomyelitis is a bacterial infection that can cause inflammation of the bone. It often affects the long bones of the arms and legs, but can happen in any bone.

Joint Infection (Septic Arthritis)

Septic arthritis is an infection in the joint fluid and joint tissues. The infection usually reaches the joints through the bloodstream. 

Muscle Infection (Pyomyositis)

Pyomyositis is a bacterial infection of the skeletal muscles. 

What are some signs and symptoms?

The symptoms of infection can often be masked by those of an injury. Symptoms to look out for are 

  • Fever and chills
  • Pain and swelling
  • Redness
  • Lethargic and fatigued
  • Pain with bearing weight on the affected limb or joint

It is important to remember that if your child experiences these symptoms for a longer than normal period to have them evaluated by their physician. 

Diagnosis and Treatment

If your child has any of these symptoms, your physician may suspect an infection. Your physician will look for swelling around bones and muscles, or fluid within the joints that are infected and order tests. Some tests that your child may receive are 

  • Blood Tests
  • X-rays
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans
  • Ultrasound
  • Computed Tomography (CT) or Bone Scans
  • Needle Aspiration (sampling bone marrow) or Bone Biopsy (sampling bone)

Treatment for any of these infections depends on the age of the child, the severity of the infection, and the lifetime of the infection. Once your physician has determined the type of bacteria that is causing your child’s infection, he or she can choose the appropriate treatment for it. Some options include:

  • Antibiotics 
  • Surgery for severe bone infections, to drain abscesses or remove segments of dead or infected bone
  • Bone graft to replace dead or infected bone

Follow-up care might include a pediatric infectious disease specialist as well as your pediatric orthopedist.

Pediatric Orthopedics of SWFL Locations

Fort Myers: 15821 Hollyfern Court, Fort Myers, FL 33908

Naples: 3361 Pine Ridge Rd, Suite 202, Naples, FL 34109

Phone : 239-432-5100

Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM