Foot injuries can lead to infections that are painful and make walking difficult. There are several types of foot injuries that can lead to infection, including cuts and blisters. The feet are vulnerable to infection, as wearing socks and shoes can create a moist environment for bacteria and fungi to grow. However, walking barefoot can infect a foot injury.
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Proper foot care and treatment can help prevent foot infections from becoming more serious.
Most types of foot infection cause symptoms. These may include:
- Redness and warmth around the affected area.
- Yellow or green pus.
- Bad smell.
- Red or brown discoloration.
- Difficulty to walk.
All types of foot infection tend to share similar symptoms, but there are several ways that a foot can become infected.
The following are a few different types of foot infection, along with tips on how to treat them:
Blisters are small pockets of fluid that can develop as a result of friction. This can be the result of wearing shoes that are too tight. Most blisters will heal in a few days without complications. It is best to avoid picking or popping a blister, as this can increase the risk of infection. Use a cast or pad to cover the blister and prevent it from rubbing against any surface or footwear.
If the blister becomes infected, a doctor will usually treat it with antibiotic medications.
Wounds can become infected if bacteria enter the body through tears on the skin. This can cause a skin infection that can range from mild to severe.
Covering the wound with a cast will help protect it from bacteria and other germs. If the wound becomes infected, a doctor will usually treat it with antibiotic medications.
Bacteria can cause many skin infections, but fungi are another possible cause of a foot infection. Fungi thrive in hot and humid environments, such as swimming pools, locker rooms, and showers. Regularly visiting these places without proper footwear can lead to a fungal foot infection. A common type of yeast infection is athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis, often develops between the toes. Fungal infections can also affect toenails. This causes them to discolor and take on a thick, brittle appearance.
You can treat most mild cases of athlete’s foot using over-the-counter creams and gels, such as econazole. For severe fungal infections, a doctor may prescribe stronger antifungal medications.
Cellulitis occurs when a bacterial infection reaches the deeper layers of the skin. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests that people with cellulite receive immediate treatment from a doctor. The infection can quickly become severe and lead to complications such as sepsis.
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If a person receives antibiotic medications early enough, the infection will generally respond well to treatment and should be reduced.
Ingrown toenail infections
An ingrown toenail occurs when a toenail cuts through the skin around it. Bacteria can enter through this break in the skin and cause an infection.
Ingrown toenails can be painful, and it is important to see a doctor if one becomes infected. In most cases, antibiotic medications can treat the condition without complications. Additionally, the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons recommends gently massaging the area or using Epsom salt to help with pain. They suggest not to put cotton under the nail, as this can also cause infection.
Diabetes and foot infections
People with diabetes are at higher risk of developing a foot infection than people without diabetes. This is because diabetes damages the nerves in the feet, which can prevent people from noticing injuries in this area of the body. Diabetes can also reduce blood flow to the feet, making it harder for you to heal wounds and infections there. A foot infection can become serious if a person has diabetes. Healing can take a long time and can even lead to gangrene. In the most severe cases, this may require amputation.
When bacteria are responsible for the infection, a doctor will treat it with antibiotic medications. It is important to keep the wound clean. Removing any damaged tissue will help prevent the infection from spreading further.