The diagnosis of osteomyelitis remains a difficult diagnostic dilemma. In this article, which is particularly aimed at those whose practice does not include a large paediatric population, we review the pathophysiology of paediatric osteomyelitis and contrast it with the available imaging modalities. We examine the role of the radiologist as well as the usefulness of each modality. Secondly, we review the different clinical scenarios such as acute, subacute and chronic, as well as specific forms of osteomyelitis; the latter includes subacute chronic ostemyelitis, toxic synovitis, spondylodiscitis as well as the congenital inflammatory disorders such as rubella and syphylis. The most useful imaging findings to look for and their significance are assessed and we evaluate their usefulness in each case. Close cooperation between clinicians and imagers remains the key to early and adequate diagnosis of paediatric osteomyelitis.

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