We’ve all had them—red spots on our skin from a bug bite, pressure point, or rash. When the red doesn’t go away, becomes painful, warm, or swollen, or develops into an open sore, you know something more serious is going on. Infections in feet can mimic inflammation—a normal response your body makes to irritation or injury—but they can be much more serious.
Infections happen when bacteria or fungi gain an entry point through your skin barrier and feed and multiply in your soft tissue. They often occur in your skin (cellulitis), in an abscess under the skin, or in a bursa (cushioning sac between bone and tendon). However, they can move deeper into a joint or the bone itself. They can also enter your blood stream and lymph system and move throughout your entire body.
A particular danger for feet is an open would that doesn’t heal and becomes infected. This is a common problem for people with diabetes. The longer the wound remains open, the higher the risk of infection, and if the infection is not treated, it can lead to death of the tissue, called gangrene.
Dry gangrene is caused by lack of proper circulation in the tissues, which turns cold, black and dry, and eventually drops off.
Wet gangrene, however, is tied to infection that can cut off blood flow to the cells. This allows the bacteria to spread farther and invade the muscle, where your white blood cells cannot reach to fight it off and the tissue dies.
As more and more tissue is destroyed, the only way to save your limb may be to amputate a toe or part of the foot or leg. No one wants this, and there are advanced limb salvage treatments that can be applied to prevent it, but the risk is always there.As you can see, foot infections can be a serious business. If you notice any of the symptoms—redness, pain in the affected area, a growing sore or rash, warmth, an abscess with pus, red streaks leading away from the spot, or a fever—please don’t delay. Call Sierra Foot & Ankle in Gardnerville, NV at (775) 783-8037 for an appointment. Residents of the Carson Valley region may want to use our toll free number: (888) 608-8406, or schedule through our website. We want to keep your feet healthy to support you your whole life long.