*Osteomyelitis is a bone infection. Infection may spread to bone from surrounding soft tissue, from elsewhere in the body via the blood, or directly from a bone injury or bone surgery. Osteomyelitis is a serious complication of chronic wounds and necrotizing fasciitis and is a distinctive feature of Wagner Grade 3 diabetic ulcers.
Bone infections may be caused by any number of bacteria or fungi. The most common cause of osteomyelitis is MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which has become a particularly troublesome hospital- and healthcare-acquired infection (HAI).
Actinomycosis, or lumpy jaw, a disease common in animals but rare in humans, may be caused by bacteria of the Actinomyces species or by other anaerobic pathogens.
Blocked vessels (ischemia) or poor circulation of oxygenated blood in and around infected bone may lead to inflammation (osteitis), abscess (pus), swelling (edema), pressure, and death (necrosis) of soft and bony tissue.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is an effective adjunct to antibiotics and surgery, the traditional treatments for osteomyelitis. When the bacteria involved are anaerobic, meaning they thrive in low-oxygen environments, hyperbaric oxygen kills them and stops them from replicating, spreading, and releasing damaging toxins. HBOT may also improve circulation, boost the effect of antibiotics, deliver infection-fighting blood components to the infection site, and accelerate bone growth and healing.