How Can I Prevent Bone and Joint Infections?
Prevention of both bone and joint infections is centered on the underlying causes and their risk factors.
For extrinsic risks:
- Avoiding intravenous drug abuse is self-evident, as is avoidance of high-risk behaviors that invite trauma or sexually transmitted infections
For inherent risks:
- Fractures require thorough irrigation, debridement, and prophylactic antibotics, along with fracture fixation and stabilization
- Diabetes. Strict glycemic control and frequent neurologic assessments for pin-prick sensitivity, pressure ulcers, or vascular compromise. Probing for bone can identify osteomyelitis while it is acute, before becoming chronic
- Sepsis and bacteremia unrelated to bone or joint health call for aggressive treatment, along with scrupulous surveillance for any of the hallmarks of bone and joint involvement developing as a complication–tenderness, redness, warmth, and swelling
- Sickle cell anemia has many problems, with vascular compromise of bone only one of them. Besides a hematologist, an infectious disease and orthopedic specialist should be part of the prevention team
- Rheumatoid disease patients should include heightened surveillance for bone and joint infections by patients’ immunologists/rheumatologists