How to Know You Have an Infected Toe

Posted by Dr. Brian Nagy on April 28, 2017

bandaged toeAny type of foot pain can put a damper on your level of activity, but having an infected toe can lead to a host of other problems. Any kind of infection can cause potential problems with your feet. Once you begin to experience any kind of symptom or abnormality with your toes or your feet, contact your New Hampshire podiatrist immediately. Never let any type of infection get out of control, especially where your feet are concerned. Know the symptoms of various types of infection and contact your doctor as soon as possible. 

Different Types of Infection

There are several types of infection that are known to affect the foot. Fungal infections can take hold around the toenails, causing them to become discolored and misshapen. Athlete's foot is a type of fungal infection that is often characterized by intense itching. Viral infections that affect the feet are known to cause plantar warts.

One of the main types of infections, and often the most painful, is the infection associated with ingrown toenails. Not only is this type of infection painful, it can eventually travel to the main part of the foot if it isn't brought quickly under control.

Ingrown Toenails and Infection

Feet are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Encased in hot shoes for most of the day, bacteria can multiply rather quickly. If a person has an ingrown toenail, the bacteria can cause an infection that produces pain, inflammation, and has a dramatic impact on the person's mobility.

For many people who must work outside of the home, an ingrown toenail that becomes infected can lead to many painful days wearing shoes that only make the situation worse.

With proper treatment, however, the infection can be brought under control and the ingrown toenail trimmed so that it no longer poses a problem. If you have an ingrown toenail, it is extremely important to keep the feet as clean as possible in an attempt to keep an infection from forming.

Symptoms

In the beginning stages of an infection, the ingrown toenail may be red and inflamed. There may be an overgrowth of skin that begins to feel warm to the touch and ooze pus. As the sharp toenail continues to cut through the sensitive flesh, the wound may begin to bleed as well.

If the infection is not treated, the infection may begin to travel further into the foot and away from the ingrown toenail. This often appears as reddish streaks that radiate outward from the area of the original infection. The inflammation will also spread, making the main portion of the foot look swollen. As the infection spreads, the entire area may become very warm and tender to the touch.

Treatment Options

There are many treatment options that can be used to relieve the pain of the infected toe and help to eliminate the infection. Your doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics as well as a topical antibiotic ointment to place on the infected area.

The doctor may choose to excise the toenail so that it no longer grows through the infected area. Clean the area regularly to control the growth of bacteria. A soft bandage will be placed over the wound to protect it and reduce its exposure to any more bacteria.

It is also important to wear loose-fitting shoes or open sandals that will not press on the toe or allow bacteria to build up around the area. The doctor will normally recommend over the counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications to make the patient more comfortable. 

If you are experiencing any type of foot pain, especially if you have an inflamed or infected toe, it is important that you see a New Hampshire podiatrist at Nagy Footcare today!

Dr. Nagy can get to the root of the problem and have you back on the road to healthy feet in a short period of time. Don't let an ingrown toenail or any other type of foot problem get to the point where it prevents you from enjoying your life. Contact Nagy Footcare today! Our best day is the day you wake up with no foot pain.

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Topics: Ingrown Toenails

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