The key difference between osteomyelitis and osteomalacia is that osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone, while osteomalacia is the softening of the bone due to inadequate mineralization.
Bone is a living and growing tissue that mainly consists of collagen and calcium. Bones provide a rigid framework to the body known as the skeleton. Skeleton protects soft organs and helps the body to carry out day-to-day work. Certain medical conditions affect bone strength and flexibility, resulting in health complications. Osteomyelitis and osteomalacia are two such medical conditions that affect structure and function.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Osteomyelitis
3. What is Osteomalacia
4. Similarities – Osteomyelitis and Osteomalacia
5. Osteomyelitis vs Osteomalacia in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Osteomyelitis vs Osteomalacia
What is Osteomyelitis?
Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone. This infection normally can reach a bone by travelling through the bloodstream or spreading from nearby tissue. The infection can also begin in the bone itself if an injury exposes the bone to microorganisms. Smokers and people suffering from chronic health conditions like diabetes or kidney failure are usually at more risk of developing osteomyelitis. Moreover, people suffering from diabetes who have foot ulcers may develop osteomyelitis in their feet as well. The signs and symptoms of osteomyelitis include fever, swelling, warmth and redness over the area of the infection, pain in the area of infection, and fatigue. Sometimes, infants and immune-compromised people may not show these signs and symptoms, or the signs and symptoms may be hard to distinguish from other problems.
Osteomyelitis can be diagnosed through physical examination, blood tests, imaging testing like X-rays, MRI and CT scans, and bone biopsy. Furthermore, treatments for osteomyelitis are medications such as antibiotics, surgeries that include procedures like draining the infected area, removing diseased bone and tissue, restoring blood flow to the bone, removing any foreign objects and amputating the limb, and lifestyle changes (stop smoking and controlling diabetes).
What is Osteomalacia?
Osteomalacia is the softening of the bone. This condition prevents the normal mineralization or hardening of bones. This makes the bones weak and more likely to bend and break. Only adults experience this condition. When this happens in children, it is called rickets. Moreover, osteomalacia is more common in women and often occurs during pregnancy. Osteomalacia signs and symptoms may include easily broken bones, feeling tired, pain, stiffness, trouble getting up from sitting or walking upstairs, especially weak muscles in the arms and thighs, waddling, and side to side stride.
Osteomalacia can be diagnosed through physical examination, blood tests, X-rays, bone mineral density scans, and bone biopsy. Furthermore, the treatment options for osteomalacia include getting more vitamin D from diet and supplements (cereal, cheese, eggs, fish, liver, milk, orange juice, and yogurt), taking larger doses of calcium, wearing braces to treat broken bones, and surgery.
What are the Similarities Between Osteomyelitis and Osteomalacia?
- Osteomyelitis and osteomalacia are two medical conditions that affect bone structure and function.
- They are categorized under bone diseases.
- If they are not treated, they can cause complications.
- Both conditions are predominately found in adults.
- Both conditions can be diagnosed through physical examinations, blood diets, and imaging testing.
- They are treated through specific medications and surgeries.
What is the Difference Between Osteomyelitis and Osteomalacia?
Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone, while osteomalacia is the softening of the bone due to inadequate mineralization. Thus, this is the key difference between osteomyelitis and osteomalacia. Furthermore, osteomyelitis is caused by a bacterial infection, while osteomalacia is caused by losing the earthy material of the bones due to a deficiency in calcium or vitamin D.
The below infographic presents the differences between osteomyelitis and osteomalacia in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Osteomyelitis vs Osteomalacia
Bone is an active connective tissue that provides structural support, facilitates movement, and protects vital organs. Different medical conditions can affect bone strength and flexibility that cause health complications. Osteomyelitis and osteomalacia are two medical conditions that affect bone structure and function. Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone, while osteomalacia is the softening of the bone due to inadequate mineralization. So, this summarizes the difference between osteomyelitis and osteomalacia.
1. “Osteomyelitis” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
2. “Osteomalacia (Soft Bones): Symptoms, Causes, Treatments & Tests.” Cleveland Clinic.
1. “3D Medical Animation Staphylococcus Aureus” By Scientific Animations (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Severe Osteomalacia Related to Long-Term Intravenous Drug Abuse P04 radiograph of distal femurs” By Leslie Gamache, Mark R. Burge – Severe Osteomalacia Related to Long-Term Intravenous Drug Abuse (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia