Osteomyelitis and the Diabetic

Diabetes is on the rise throughout our tri-county area and, indeed, the world. Along with it comes an increased possibility of a tough-to-fight disease called osteomyelitis. Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bones caused by bacteria. People of all ages are susceptible, as are all bones, but it’s osteomyelitis of the foot bones that we are most concerned with at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists.

Risk factors

  1. Diabetes. Diabetics are prone to having poor circulation, leading to serious foot ulcers that heal very slowly. If an ulcer becomes infected and isn’t treated in a timely and effective manner, the infection can spread to the bone.
  2. An open path for germs. Anyone who has had recent surgery or a recent injury, particularly a broken bone, is vulnerable to osteomyelitis.
  3. An infection in some other part of the body. Any pre-established infection can sometimes travel through the bloodstream and settle into another part of your body, including the bones of your feet.


Symptoms of a bone infection can be tricky because they may mimic other foot conditions. So anyone, but especially diabetics, should take care and see one of our doctors, Michael L. Rosenberg, DPM or Heidi M. Christie, DPM, if they have the following symptoms:

  • Unexplained foot pain.
  • Swelling, tenderness, or inflammation anywhere on the feet.
  • Fever or chills accompanying an infection.

Treatment and Prevention

When treated promptly, osteomyelitis will respond to antibiotics. But if an infection reaches the bone and proves unmanageable, surgery or foot amputation may become necessary. So, as with many diseases of the foot, the best way to manage a bone infection is to prevent it from ever happening. If you are diabetic, you must

  • Be vigilant about keeping your feet clean.
  • Keep blood glucose at optimal levels.
  • Visit your podiatrist on a regular basis, especially if you have nerve damage or peripheral arterial disease that prevents you from detecting a cut or wound.
  • See Dr. Rosenberg or Dr. Christie immediately if you have a cut, scrape, or ulcer, or any of the other symptoms listed above.

Our outstanding podiatrists are well-trained to care for the diabetic foot. Prevent osteomyelitis and other serious conditions by allowing us to monitor your foot health at our office in Montgomery. Call us at (334) 396-3668 or request an appointment online.