The tissues in your foot can get infected, either as a result of an accident, because of a pre-existing condition like diabetes, or due to a fungus. Once you contract a foot infection, it can be extremely hard to get rid of. While some infections are harmless, others can cause the loss of a limb or even the loss of life. In Kelowna, BC and Victoria, BC, patients can visit a specialized foot clinic if they suffer from the symptoms of an infection.

A good foot doctor can quickly evaluate the patient and provide them with the treatment they need. That way, there is little risk of the infection causing damage or spreading to other areas of the body. Because most medical issues are easier to treat when they are in the initial stages, patients could benefit from early intervention instead of waiting until their condition gets worse.

Why You Should Never Let a Foot Infection Go Untreated

There are several types of infections. The most common ones are fungal infections of the nails or the soft tissue and infected wounds from an injury. However, you might also have an infection as a result of an ingrown toenail. These conditions should always be treated because they can get worse if left alone. Over time, you could face serious complications, such as the loss of a limb.

What’s more, treating an infection early is usually quite easy, and you won’t need to stay at a hospital or visit your doctor many times, especially if you get the problem addressed early on. Sometimes, infections of the foot can indicate a more serious medical problem, in which case your doctor might do additional tests to find out whether you have a condition like diabetes.

Your Condition Could Get Worse

Many infections don’t heal on their own, and they will get worse the longer they are left untreated. Therefore, you should visit your doctor as soon as you notice you have an infection. Some of the symptoms to look out for are redness, flaky or patchy skin, a bad smell, pus, swelling, and a fever. If you have a fungal infection, your toenails might change color and become thicker.

As mentioned, many types of infections don’t heal on their own. Some, like toenail fungus, are simply annoying, and they can reduce the aesthetic appeal of your feet. However, some other infections are dangerous to your health and should be addressed immediately. For example, an infected blister is a medical emergency because it could lead to the loss of a limb or even death.

Treatment Is Usually Quick and Easy 

When you come to the clinic with an infected foot, we will first figure out what kind of infection you have and then determine the best treatment methods. In most cases, getting treated is much simpler than dealing with your symptoms for many weeks or months. We might prescribe an antifungal cream or spray, an antibiotic cream, a foot powder, or blister pads. In some cases, we will recommend lifestyle changes like wearing looser shoes or keeping the feet dry.

If your infection is more severe, you might have to take stronger medication, such as a course of antibiotics or prescription antifungal creams or pills. Diabetic foot ulcers sometimes have to be closed with vacuum assistance, and some types of infections even have to be removed surgically. However, these more invasive treatments are rare in Kelowna, BC and Victoria, BC, and they are only used on patients who have very severe long-term infections.

You Could Have Another Issue 

Occasionally, an infection of the foot can indicate a more severe issue. For example, some types of infections are more common in people with diabetes, which is a potentially life-threatening condition. If you go to the doctor with your injured foot, they can check for other diabetes symptoms such as weakness or tiredness, increased thirst, vision problems, and frequent urination.

Once your foot specialist has evaluated your infection and checked for additional symptoms of diabetes, they can refer you to a specialist who will show you how to manage the condition with medication and lifestyle changes. This can help you to avoid the complications associated with untreated diabetes, which might include eye damage, kidney damage, and an increased risk of heart disease.

How Can I Reduce the Risk of a Fungal Infection?

Fungal infections are very common. Athlete’s Foot, a common condition that causes scaling and itchy or burning skin around the toes and at the bottom of the foot, affects between three and fifteen percent of the population. Similarly, three to twelve percent of people suffer from toenail fungus. Both of these issues are mainly spread in places where people go barefoot, which might include swimming pools or community showers.

To reduce your risk, you should try to wear flip-flops or sandals whenever you’re in one of these locations. After washing your feet, dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes. If you believe that you are at risk, you could also wear cotton socks that absorb sweat well and therefore prevent a buildup of moisture, or you could wear open-toed shoes more frequently.

How Can I Reduce the Risk of a Bacterial Infection?

A bacterial infection can also be spread in places where people go barefoot, but it is sometimes the result of an injury or surgery that has gone wrong. You can reduce your risk by always disinfecting and covering wounds on your feet. Ask your doctor about the best disinfectant cream, spray, or ointment. People with diabetes can’t feel their feet as well as healthy people, so they should check for wounds on a regular basis.

If you have trouble bending down or lifting your legs up to check, you should book periodic appointments with your foot specialist or podiatrist. They can make sure that you aren’t at risk of an infection, and they can cut your toenails in a way that reduces the chance of an ingrown nail. A good specialist will also let you know what kinds of shoes to wear to minimize your risk of contracting foot problems.

Do I Need to See a Kelowna, BC or Victoria, BC Specialist?

Some infections can be treated with over-the-counter medicine so the patient doesn’t need to see a foot specialist. However, this is only the case if the infection is addressed early. After several weeks or months, infections often become chronic, and they are no longer easy to remove. If you’ve suffered from the same symptoms for several weeks and you’ve tried over-the-counter remedies, you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to us at Island Foot Clinics.

Your foot doctor or podiatrist will examine your infection and, if necessary, take a sample to send to the lab. Then, they can recommend the best treatment methods. In some cases, a follow-up appointment might be necessary, but often, the infection can be resolved within one visit. Your doctor can also let you know how you can prevent getting reinfected.

A foot infection should always be treated because it might not get better on its own. Some types of infections just cause discomfort, while others can be life-threatening. Usually, treatment is quick and easy, so patients shouldn’t be concerned about visiting their specialist. Call us now at Island Foot Clinics in Kelowna, BC or Victoria, BC to book an appointment. We will be happy to diagnose your foot condition and help you find the best treatment methods.