Types of Common Foot Infections
One of the most common foot problems is infections, usually caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi. These may occur when your feet remain damp for long periods, encouraging the growth of fungi or when bacteria enter an open wound, sore, or abrasion on your feet. Signs of a foot infection typically include swelling, tenderness, and discoloration.
While there are foot infections that are treatable through home remedies or over-the-counter medication, other cases may require a visit to a podiatry clinic. Read on to learn about some of them.
This is one of the most common types of foot infection. Athlete’s foot (or Tinea Pedis) is caused by numerous fungi and typically grows in between the toes. But it may also develop on the soles or heels of your feet. Symptoms of athlete’s foot include itchy blisters or reddish, flaky rashes.
Since fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, you are more likely to get athlete’s foot in saunas, gyms, and swimming pools. It is very contagious, too, spreading through contaminated floors, towels, or clothing. Most cases of athlete’s foot may be treated with an over-the-counter antifungal cream or spray.
If you notice your toenails becoming brittle, yellowish, or worse, separated from the nail bed, you might have toenail fungus. This slow-growing infection, also known as onychomycosis, usually accompanies an athlete’s foot as it’s also caused by fungal growth. Factors such as old age, skin conditions like psoriasis, and diabetes increase your risk of this fungal infection.
Toenail fungus doesn’t always need treatment, but it can be pretty taxing once it does. Since ointments and creams cannot penetrate the nail tissue, oral antifungal medication is prescribed. For more severe cases, you may need to undergo surgery to remove the infected nail.
Another common foot infection that affects both adults and children is plantar warts. These are caused by the human papillomavirus or HPV, which enters the body through tiny cuts or scrapes in the skin. Walking around barefoot in public showers, saunas, or swimming pools may increase your risk of developing this infection.
Plantar warts are characterized by small, rough growths that usually develop on the ball and heels of your feet. So, if you have plantar warts, you may experience pain and tenderness when standing or walking. Although some cases of this foot infection naturally go away, common treatments include salicylic acid creams, cryotherapy, or for more severe cases, laser treatment.
This bacterial skin infection may occur anywhere on the body but will mostly affect the legs, feet, and toes. Cellulitis typically occurs when bacteria enter the skin through a cut, graze, or even an insect bite. When this happens, you may experience pain, swelling, and tenderness in the affected area. Your skin may also feel warm to the touch and have red streaks moving upward.
Severe cases of cellulitis often come with flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, chills, and fever. This bacterial infection, if left untreated, may spread to other parts of your body and cause serious complications, including tissue damage and amputation. So, if you notice any signs of cellulitis, consult a podiatrist right away.
You can reduce your risk of developing cellulitis by keeping your feet dry and moisturized. It will also help to clean any cuts and wounds right away and cover them, no matter how small, to prevent bacteria from entering.
This occurs when the bacterial infection develops under the skin and forms a pocket of pus. A foot abscess usually starts from a puncture wound or a hair follicle infection. You can identify this condition by a reddish, swollen, and painful bump on your feet. Besides that, you may also experience symptoms like fever and a general feeling of unwellness.
A foot abscess may be diagnosed through a physical examination done by a foot specialist. Common treatments include oral and topical antibiotics and draining the abscess to eliminate the infection.
Foot infections often cause a lot of pain and discomfort, so early treatment is of utmost importance. Plus, doing so will also help prevent your condition from worsening. Call or visit the nearest podiatry clinic if you notice any signs of a foot infection. Depending on your symptoms, a podiatrist can recommend the most effective treatment for your infected foot.