Problems with the feet are incredibly disruptive, and they can prevent us from moving around freely or participating in our favourite activities. If you experience swelling, tenderness, fluid leaks, or a strange odour on your feet, you shouldn’t delay contacting your specialists at Island Foot Clinics in Kelowna, BC. We can determine whether you are suffering from a foot infection and if so, offer you the appropriate treatment.
Usually, a bacterial infection isn’t of great concern, and you can get rid of it by cleaning the affected area frequently and taking antibiotics. However, severe infections can be dangerous to your overall health. Thus, you should always seek medical treatment as soon as you notice that there is a problem. Today, we will have a closer look at what the symptoms of an infection are and how you can prevent it from spiralling out of control.
What Are the Symptoms of a Foot Infection?
There are several reasons why your feet might get infected. You might develop this issue if you already have an infection somewhere else in your body, and it spreads to the feet. But in most cases, infections form after an abrasion, skin crack, puncture wound, cut, or ingrown nail. Such a wound should heal on its own, but if it gets contaminated by bacteria, complications can occur.
At first, the symptoms of your infection are likely to be mild. You might simply feel some swelling and tenderness. Often, the body is able to heal on its own, especially if you take care of the area and clean it frequently. However, infections can become more serious if left untreated. Patients who experience fluid leaks, odour, and a fever must see a doctor as soon as possible because they are at risk of severe issues.
Swelling and Tenderness
The first signs of an infection are swelling and tenderness. Your foot might feel warm to the touch and look visibly swollen. What’s more, infections are usually painful, so putting pressure on the area could be difficult. As a result, your mobility may be reduced.
If you have diabetes or another condition that can cause numbness in your extremities, you should check your feet regularly for infections and other problems. Because you don’t have as much sensation as other people, you might miss the beginnings of an infection. Not treating this condition early could cause it to spiral out of control, in which case you might be hospitalized.
Wounds that Don’t Heal
Most wounds and problems with the feet heal on their own. Even if you experience an infection, there is a good chance that your body can fight it and recover without any assistance. However, you should speak to a specialist if your wound doesn’t get better within two weeks. If you’ve had swelling and tenderness for more than 7-14 days and the infected area doesn’t show any signs of improvement, it’s likely that you need antibiotics.
Fluid Leaks and Odour
Sometimes, an abscess forms at the site of an infection. This is a collection of pus caused by germs in your body, and it is often very painful. At some point, the pus-filled pocket bursts, and fluid drains from it. At that time, you may also notice an unpleasant smell coming from the infected foot. It’s especially common for an abscess to form when you have an ingrown toenail, and it can be hard to get rid of it on your own.
An untreated foot infection can cause a fever. If you develop a high temperature without apparent cause, you should get in touch with your foot specialist in Kelowna as soon as you can. Unless you get your infection treated, you might develop complications that could cause you to be hospitalized. For instance, infections that aren’t stopped can cause sepsis, also called blood poisoning, which is a life-threatening condition.
What to Do if You Have an Infection
Now you know what the symptoms of an infection are, you are better equipped to decide whether you need treatment. If you have suffered from a painful or swollen foot for several weeks or your condition has worsened over time, you need to visit the local clinic. But what will happen once you get there, and what treatments will your podiatrist recommend?
Because every situation is different, the best way to find out how you can get rid of your infection is to speak to your doctor directly. Most people with this problem benefit from an enhanced cleaning routine and antibiotics tailored to their needs.
Contact Your Local Foot Specialists in Kelowna ASAP
If you have a severe infection, seeing a specialist is crucial because they can help you prevent complications and hospitalization. When you arrive at the clinic, your podiatrist will examine your foot and run some tests to see what type of infection you have. Once the bacteria in your foot have been identified, the doctor can decide on an appropriate treatment method.
Your specialist will also speak to you about how to prevent painful infections in the future. For instance, if you suffer from numbness in your limbs, they may recommend checking the soles of your feet for cracks and abrasions regularly. That way, you can catch future issues early on and treat them before they become severe infections.
Clean the Area Frequently
Germs are much less likely to infect you if wounds on your feet are kept clean at all times. For this reason, your doctor will give you topical medicine that kills off the harmful bacteria. They can also show you how to properly monitor and sterilize your wound and therefore avoid further problems. In some cases, treating your infection with an over-the-counter or prescription ointment or cream can be sufficient.
Antibiotics are an effective way of eliminating infection from your body. However, you should never use leftover drugs from another issue to treat your current condition. The bacteria causing the problem could be different, or they could have developed immunity to the previous drug. For this reason, you need to visit your foot doctor and ask them to prescribe new medication each time you have an infection.
When you come to your podiatrist, they will run some tests that help them determine what kinds of bacteria are causing your symptoms and which medication can get rid of them. Then, they can give you the appropriate antibiotics and explain to you how to use them.
Don’t Let Foot Problems Persist
When it first occurs, a foot infection is usually easy to treat. However, if you let the symptoms grow worse without addressing the problem, you could be putting your health at risk. In severe cases, patients need to be hospitalized and treated with strong antibiotics. Because infections can be dangerous, you should always see a doctor if your wound isn’t healing, it starts to leak fluid or smell different, or you develop a fever.
The foot doctors at your local clinic can help you figure out whether you have an infection and if so, recommend an appropriate treatment. They will usually advise you to thoroughly clean the treatment area and take antibiotics to get rid of the infection. Call or message us at Island Foot Clinics in Kelowna, BC to book an appointment with one of our podiatrists. We will be happy to welcome you to the clinic and help you regain your foot health.