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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Your Question

I had chronic osteomyelitis in my left femur as a child.  I had extensive surgeries on the femur over a period of 10 years.  After many years of being OK excepting a bit of arthritis, I had a bad fall two months ago, hurting my lower back.  The pain has now gone into my hip and femur. I am wondering if this could have triggered anything relating to the osteomyelitis or would it be completely cured by now?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

Can a new injury cause osteomyelitis to occur again?

Osteomyelitis is considered a chronic condition because it can return even though initial treatments seemed to be successful.  Treatment of chronic osteomyelitis aims to stop its progression rather than to "cure" it.  There have been reports of osteomyelitis becoming active again, or recurring, many years after it first develops.   Factors that may cause chronic osteomyelitis to become active again include injury to the previously affected area or if the individual's immune system is not working properly.[1][2] 

In one case, a man had osteomyelitis in his leg as a child; sixty-five years later, he sustained an injury to the same leg and the osteomyelitis recurred.[2]
Last updated: 7/28/2011