Fracture Infections

Although most of the fractures heal without causing any kind of infection, but some fractured bones may get infected whose treatment and recovery can be prolonged and complicated.

Causes of fracture infection

Infection in fracture may occur due to the following reasons:

  • Entry of bacteria into the body during the traumatic event especially in the cases of open or compound fracture in which skin is broken and bacteria can easily travel down to the broken bone leading to infection

  • Entry of bacteria into the body during surgery to set the broken bones. Although the chances of this type of entry are rare but 1% cases may have infection due to this.

  • Injury near the skin, muscles, arteries, and veins carry higher risk of infection

  • Chronic diseases like diabetes, HIV, rheumatoid etc. that lower the body immunity may put the patient at greater risk for infection

  • Poor nutrition

  • Lack of Vitamin D & Calcium

  • Poor hygiene

Symptoms of fracture infection

Infection at the site of injury will cause following symptoms:

  • Warmth

  • Redness

  • Increased pain

  • Swelling and inflammation

  • Difficulty to move the joint

  • Formation of pus pocket

  • If pus bursts, it may drain from the injury and will cause fevers, chills, and night sweats

Treatment of fracture infection

Every fracture can get infectious and its prevention starts as soon as the patient reports injury. The main precautionary as well as therapeutic measures include:

  • Antibiotics

  • Debridement and irrigation to cleanse the wound and remove as much contamination as possible

  • Additional surgery to clean out the infection

  • Placement of special drains in the wound to rid of pus

  • Antibiotic delivery systems, like “antibiotic beads,” to provide higher concentrations of antibiotics

  • Amputation of the infected limb