Your feet are in constant contact with bacteria regardless of how clean you try to keep them. The bacteria cause infections, and while most of the time our bodies are able to fight off potential infections, the feet are one of the most susceptible parts of the body with a wide variety of possible issues.


Common Infections


Toenail infections are quite common and occur due to bacteria underneath the nail area or around the nail. The most common example of this is ingrown toenails that ultimately leads to an infection, most often in the big toe. Once the nail punctures the skin, it leaves an open wound where bacteria can enter and cause an infection, which will make the toe red, painful and swollen.


Any type of trauma to toenails like stubbing your toe, dropping a heavy object on your toes or athletic activity can result in an infection. These types of infections are most often known as staph or staphylococcus aureus.


Infections between the toes can develop when there is a rash or wound present in the area. This is typically a fungal infection similar to athlete’s foot. However, an infection between the toes can also be bacterial and is many times mistaken for a fungal infection.


An abscess is a swollen, red area of the foot that looks similar to an insect bite and normally filled with pus. An open wound, an ingrown hair or several other problems that allow bacteria to infect a given area can cause these. Treatment normally includes draining the wound, prescription of antibiotics and lab testing to determine the type of bacteria that caused the infection.


Cellulitis is a skin infection that most often resembles a rash, with the skin becoming red, warm and tender. Cellulitis infections can spread very rapidly, sometimes even into bones and deep tissues. This type of infection requires immediate medical assistance and can be very dangerous, especially for those who have other existing medical problems.


If you suspect you have one of the above infections, do not try to self-diagnose. You should make an appointment with a medical professional for a proper diagnosis.


Contact Your Podiatrist


Most people have a fairly strong immune system and can fight off most infections before they even know there is a potential problem. However, diabetics, elderly folks and others with existing medical conditions are very susceptible to infections. If left untreated, infections can bring dire consequences and it is important to contact your podiatrist as soon as you think there may be a problem.