A 14-year-old boy presented with a pathologic fracture of the distal aspect of the tibia and a remote history of a dog bite near the injury site. Imaging studies, biopsy, and presentation corroborated the diagnosis of chronic osteomyelitis. Multiple diagnostic methods were negative until an open biopsy identified Haemophilus parainfluenzae, a fastidious oropharyngeal bacterium, with polymerase chain reaction analysis. The patient underwent extensive debridement, placement of external fixation, and a year-long antibiotic therapy regimen. He subsequently required a tibial-fibular osteotomy at a second site with placement of an intramedullary nail for correction of a leg-length discrepancy.
This case report illustrates the complex management of chronic osteomyelitis in pediatric patients, its sequelae, and the importance of considering treatment of atypical pathogens.