Osteomyelitis is an infection in a bone. Infection can reach a bone by traveling through the bloodstream or spreading from nearby tissue. Within the bone, an infection can also begin itself if an injury exposes the bone to germs.
Smokers and people with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or kidney failure, are more at risk of developing osteomyelitis. People who have diabetes may develop osteomyelitis in their feet if they have foot ulcers.