Skip to main content


Pediatric Bone and Joint Infections

What are bone infections?

Bone infections, or osteomyelitis, involve inflammation of the bone, usually caused by a bacterial infection. In children, the bacteria are most often Staphylococcus aureus (staph infection) and is primarily carried through the blood.

Preschool-aged children account for about half of bone infection cases because of the rich blood supply in their growing bones. In both children and adolescents, bone infections happen most often in long bones of the legs and arms. If untreated, bone infection can cause severe complications, including:

  • Bone destruction
  • Abscesses (pockets of infected pus)
  • Infected joints (septic arthritis)
  • Deformities and disability resulting from ongoing infections


Our team is standing by to schedule your child’s appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes bone infections in children?

What are symptoms of bone infections in children?

How are bone infections diagnosed in children?

How are bone infections in children treated?

Orthopaedic Treatment at Children's National Hospital

Advanced care and treatments available in the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine at Children’s National are improving quality of life for the children we treat and the families we serve. Discover more about the treatments we offer.

Girl Smiling and Clapping

Help Kids and Make a Difference

Invest in future cures for some of life's most devastating diseases. Give today to help more children grow up stronger.

Girl Smiling and Clapping


Jared S.'s Story

Providers Who Treat Bone and Joint Infections

    Departments that Treat Bone and Joint Infections

    Limb Lengthening

    Using a family-centered approach, Children's National delivers specialized care to help children with limb length discrepancies achieve equal limb length.

    young patient plays with paper airplanes

    Infectious Diseases

    Our Division of Infectious Diseases is the major referral center for infectious diseases in the Washington, D.C., area, helping thousands of patients each year, and actively promoting prevention through community outreach and education.

    Orthopaedic Trauma

    Our focus on non-operative and minimally invasive techniques helps children regain normal functioning after a traumatic injury to their bones or joints.