Foot infections are very serious and can deteriorate quickly. There are a lot of bacteria, fungi and viral infections living on your feet, that can all cause infections.
The bugs that typically infect your skin will depend on environmental factors, the state of your immune system, and the depth of the wound.
There are 3 general types of bacteria that can cause a skin infection, depending on the conditions in which they grow:
- In air (aerobic) found more on superficial wounds.
- Reduced oxygen environments (microaerophilic), found in deeper wounds.
- With little to no oxygen (anaerobic) found in deeper wounds and abscesses.
Foot Infection Symptoms:
- Warmth or increased heat.
- Pus or discharge.
- Increase temperature.
- Feeling unwell if severe.
- Increased blood sugar levels if diabetic.
How to Prevent a Foot Infection:
- Apply good hygiene by washing the feet with warm soapy water daily and drying thoroughly.
- Wearing a clean pair of socks everyday.
- Apply moisturiser to legs and feet to maintain skin elasticity and prevent skin breaks.
- Have toenails, corns, callus and heel fissures treated by a podiatrist to prevent ingrown toenails tissue breakdown and injuries to the feet.
- Do not walk barefoot and wear protective footwear outside to prevent trauma to the feet.
- Prevent burns by avoiding hot water bottles, hot baths and putting feet close to a heat source.
- Follow a healthy diet to make your immune systems strong to fight infection.
- Regular exercise will increase blood flow and aid healing in the feet and lower limbs.
- Regular foot health check by your podiatrist to assess circulation and sensation in the feet to ensure optimum healing levels.
- Check feet daily for cuts or breaks in the skin.
How to Treat a Foot Infection:
- Clean cuts or wounds using a saline flush to remove any debris or pus.
- Apply antiseptic (betadine) and a breathable dressing.
- If wounds last longer than 6 weeks or if you are at high risk of infection stronger dressing regimes may be required and need to be discussed with your podiatrist or GP.
- If antibiotics may be necessary, your GP will take a wound swab to determine the exact micro-organism causing the infection.
- Signs of redness, heat, swelling moving up your leg, is a serious infection and you need to go to hospital immediately for treatment.
- When hard skin forms around the cut or wound, have a podiatrist remove this to allow healing and reduce surrounding bacteria.
Infections or concerns with your feet should be assessed and treated by a trained podiatrist or medical practitioner.