Meanings of Periosteum Inflammation

By | May 13, 2022

Periosteum inflammation or periostitis affects the periosteum covering the bone. The disease, which is caused by various causes, can be completely cured in most cases with professional treatment.

What is periosteum inflammation?

Periostitis can lead to various health problems and, in isolated cases, cause serious complications. Irrespective of where the periosteum inflammation occurs, severe, mostly throbbing pain develops as the disease progresses. See AbbreviationFinder for abbreviations related to Periosteum Inflammation.

Periosteum inflammation describes an inflammatory change in the periosteum of a person. In specialist medicine, the disease is therefore also referred to as periostitis.

In most cases, periostitis is accompanied by thickening and water retention in the area of ​​the affected periosteum. Periostitis often occurs in areas of a bone where tendons and/or muscles attach.

A distinction must be made, for example, between acute and chronic forms of periostitis; Periosteum inflammation is referred to in medicine as chronic if the disease has been present for a long time. Periostitis is usually considered chronic if the symptoms have been present for at least 3 months. Periostitis can be very painful and occurs comparatively often in athletes – periosteum inflammation is often localized here on the shin.


Periosteum inflammation can be caused both mechanically and bacterially. The mechanical causes that can be hidden behind periostitis include long-term overloading of the bone.

Especially in athletes, mechanical factors such as overtired muscles, wearing unsuitable shoes, foot malpositions or punches or kicks in contact sports can also promote periostitis.

If periostitis is bacterial, it usually occurs as part of an infection with staphylococci (spherical bacteria) or streptococci (spherical to egg-shaped bacteria). Infection with various viruses can also lead to the development of periostitis. Corresponding pathogens get into the body, for example, in the course of operations or open injuries.

If a person already has underlying infectious diseases, pathogens can get into the bloodstream from here and lead to periostitis elsewhere.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Periostitis can lead to various health problems and, in isolated cases, cause serious complications. Irrespective of where the periosteum inflammation occurs, severe, mostly throbbing pain develops as the disease progresses. These manifest themselves primarily when there is movement or pressure on the affected area. It is characteristic of the pain that it mainly occurs during physical activity and subsides quickly during periods of rest.

The affected area may be red and overheated, and swelling may also occur. Movement restrictions are also possible. A purulent inflammation of the periosteum can cause accompanying symptoms such as malaise and fever. In this form, the pain can be very severe. A purulent discharge often occurs in the area of ​​inflammation or a soft tissue fistula develops, which can weep and cause itching.

The symptoms of periosteum inflammation usually appear suddenly. The pain then leads to sleep disorders and depressive moods, which are accompanied by a further decrease in well-being. In individual cases, edema develops, which can result in infections and skin changes. If the periostitis is treated early, the symptoms soon subside. If left untreated, complications such as permanent movement disorders or chronic pain can develop.

Diagnosis & History

A patient consultation can give the doctor treating you the first clues as to the causes of a possible periosteum infection. In order to diagnose periostitis, the corresponding areas of the body are then usually examined for typical symptoms such as water retention or thickening.

Frequently, a palpation of the part of the body affected by symptoms by the attending physician helps to confirm the diagnosis of periostitis. X-rays can be used to check whether periostitis is already chronic.

In contrast to acute periostitis, chronic periostitis usually develops gradually; the symptoms of chronic periostitis are often milder at first than in the context of acute periosteum inflammation. With early and competent therapy, acute periostitis in particular can be completely cured in many cases.


The inflammation of the periosteum causes considerable limitations and discomfort in the patient’s everyday life. In most cases, patients primarily suffer from relatively severe bone pain in the affected regions. This pain can occur in the form of rest pain or pressure pain.

Pain at rest can also lead to sleep disorders and thus to increased irritability in the patient. There is also usually severe swelling and redness and the patient’s movement is restricted. It is not uncommon for the extremities to be warm, leading to general tiredness and exhaustion. The resilience of those affected also decreases significantly due to the inflammation of the periosteum. Water retention can also occur in the affected areas.

As a rule, periosteum inflammation can be treated well if it is detected early. There are no particular complications. The treatment takes place with the help of therapies and medication and in most cases leads to a positive course of the disease. The life expectancy of those affected is also not affected by periosteum inflammation. In some cases, the periosteum can also cause inflammation of the bone marrow.

When should you go to the doctor?

The periosteum is a disease or a symptom that does not immediately require a doctor’s visit. This is due to the fact that the inflammation is usually caused by overexertion and in most cases heals spontaneously when the cause of the stress is removed. Before seeing a doctor, it makes sense to first research the cause and eliminate it (e.g. overuse during sport or wearing unfavorable shoes). If the symptoms improve as a result of the omission of the cause, a doctor’s visit is not necessary. Basically, this also applies if another irritation is accepted by allowing the trigger again.

The periosteum is also easily accessible to self-treatment. However, if the symptoms do not improve with rest and other measures such as cooling, the doctor should be consulted. This also applies to cases in which no connection with a triggering behavior can be determined, even with the most precise observation of the symptoms and their occurrence. Here it makes sense to see a doctor to find out whether there is another explanation for the painful reaction on the front edge of the shins. A visit to the doctor is also advisable in the case of one-sided complaints that do not subside or severe symptoms.

Treatment & Therapy

The treatment of periosteum inflammation initially depends on the individual cause of the disease. Periostitis, which is due to overuse of the affected bone, often presents on the tibia or forearm; The medical measures frequently used here include cooling and subsequent immobilisation of the affected part of the body.

A corresponding immobilization is possible, for example, by applying a tape bandage (a bandage using adhesive plaster tape, which is often used in sports medicine). Another therapy module for periostitis caused by overexertion is often the administration of so-called antirheumatic drugs – these are drugs with an anti-inflammatory effect.

Bacterial periostitis is often treated with antibiotic medication. Occasionally, bacterial periostitis may be associated with bone marrow inflammation ; this is particularly the case in people who have a weakened immune system. Such a combined disease of periostitis and inflammation of the bone marrow is often treated with antibiotics using infusions.

Outlook & Forecast

In principle, periosteum inflammation is curable. It can be very tedious. The success of a therapy and the duration depend on the respective cause, extent and intensity of the disease. Age and the state of the immune system also play a role in healing. If the patients follow the therapy plans that have been drawn up, there is a good chance that no permanent damage will remain and mobility will return.

If the cause is overexertion, mild symptoms can take 1-2 weeks before noticeable relief is felt. The absorption of the load on the corresponding part of the body should then only be increased slowly in order to achieve a lasting improvement.

If the necessary rest breaks are not observed or if the cause of the one-sided stress is not eliminated when the periosteum begins to develop, a protracted and serious illness can develop. A treatment plan that has been drawn up should be consistently adhered to by the patient. Otherwise there is a risk that the inflammation will become chronic. In this case, an operation can help. After the operation, the affected part of the body must be rested for several weeks to a month.

In the case of a bacterial infection as the cause of the periosteum, medication can help quickly. When the pain in the affected part of the body subsides, the patient’s general physical condition must be assessed before resuming exercise.


Periosteum inflammation caused by pathogens can only be prevented to a limited extent; However, the risk of disease can be reduced by strengthening the body’s own immune system. In sports, for example, avoiding excessive exertion can prevent periostitis. Wearing the necessary protective clothing and appropriate footwear can also help to avoid periostitis.


Periosteum inflammation is associated with a severe impairment of the immune system. For this reason and because of the severe pain associated with the disease, physical rest is of the utmost importance even after the therapy has been successfully completed. The first step in aftercare is to reduce your usual physical activities for a period of time.

This applies in particular to those sports or movement sequences that have led to periosteum inflammation. If the disease was caused by bacteria, physical protection also applies as part of the aftercare. Athletes are urgently recommended to keep physical exertion at a moderate level for a few months after the end of the periosteum inflammation, so that the disease does not provoke a new outbreak.

If there is a lack of follow-up care and you return to your usual training habits too quickly, it can happen that the periosteum recurs, although it seemed to have completely subsided after the therapy. The support of a health and fitness consultant is therefore advantageous after periosteum inflammation.

Follow-up care may also include requiring patients to give up certain sports altogether. In any case, it is necessary for those affected to have regular medical check-ups at least one to two years after the periosteum inflammation in order to have the condition of the periosteum assessed and to make statements about the inflammation levels in the blood.

You can do that yourself

In the case of periosteum inflammation, extremely intense bone pain occurs, which significantly restricts the patient’s everyday life. Pain symptoms occur both when performing movements and when the person concerned is resting. Taking painkillers provides relief here, so that the overall well-being improves.

The extremities are poorly supplied with blood, causing the patient to feel cold and often tired and bruised. Reduced resilience and a reduced ability to concentrate are not uncommon. Severe swelling and redness have a negative effect on well-being and water retention in the relevant areas worsens the state of health. The affected person needs a lot of rest as well as medication and ointments to avoid a more severe course of the disease.

Depressive moods and states of anxiety often further limit the quality of life. Psychological counseling and the exchange with other sufferers provides support and has a beneficial effect on the state of mind. If the periosteum is treated early, complications rarely occur. However, the ointments and bandages can trigger allergies. Clarification in advance of the risk of allergies can have a positive influence on the choice of ointment and medication. If the inflammation of the periosteum takes a purulent course, this leads to severe discomfort in the patient. The general condition is deteriorating and there is a need for immediate medical treatment.

Periosteum Inflammation