Bacteria, fungi, and viruses can all cause skin and wound infections.The microorganisms that typically infect wounds and the skin depend on environmental factors, the state of the person’s immune system, and the depth and exposure of the wound.
Bacteria are classified into 3 general types, depending on the conditions in which they grow:
- In air (aerobic) found more on superficial wounds.
- In reduced oxygen environments (microaerophilic), found in deeper wounds.
- In little to no oxygen (anaerobic) found in deeper wounds and abscesses.
Todays blog is going to focus on bacterial foot infections that may result when the skin integrity is compromised.
Bacterial Foot Infection is Characterized by the Following Symptoms:
- Warmth or increased heat
- Pus or discharge
- Increase temperature
- Feeling unwell if severe
- Increased blood sugar levels if diabetic
How to Prevent a Bacterial Foot Infection:
- Good hygiene, including washing the feet with warm water and soap daily and drying thoroughly, especially in-between the toes.
- Wearing a clean pair of socks everyday.
- Apply moisturiser to legs and feet to maintain skin elasticity and integrity to 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.
- Avoid using hot water bottles, putting feet to close to the heater or hot baths if sensation is reduced in the feet to prevent burns.
- Follow a healthy diet so your body receives the nutrient and minerals it needs to make your immune systems strong and fight infection.
- Regular exercise will increase blood flow and aid healing in the feet and lower limbs.
- Have regular foot health check ups to assess circulation and sensation in the feet to ensure optimum healing levels.
- Check feet daily for cuts or breaks in the skin.
- Dressing any cuts with betadine and a breathable dressing such as cutiplast until healed.
- Do not use plastic sticky plasters on the feet, as these make your feet sweat and can cause bacteria to divide.
How to Treat a Bacterial Foot Infection:
- Clean the cut or wound with a saline flush to remove any debris or pus.
- Apply an antiseptic such as betadine and a breathable dressing to treat bacteria locally.
- 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.
- Antibiotics may be required, your GP may take a wound swab to determine the exact micro-organism causing the infection. Broad spectrum antibiotics are usually given until the results can be obtained and then a specific antibiotic may be prescribed.
- If redness, heat, swelling is moving up your leg this is a serious infection and you need to go to hospital immediately for treatment.
- If hard skin forms around the cut or wound, have a podiatrist debride this to allow healing to occur and reduce bacterial burden.
Infections and any concerns with your feet should be looked at and treated by a trained podiatrist or medical practitioner.
At Proactive Podiatry we are experience in diagnosing and treating lower limb and foot pathology and will help you in recognising and preventing foot infections.