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Foot Infection: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Jan 24, 2022

What is the treatment?

Foot infections are of several types - ranging from toenail infections to athlete's foot and foot abscess to cellulits. Diabetic foot infection is also another type that only plagues who suffer from diabetes. Each of these different types of infections can be very painful due to the swelling and redness they cause. The causes of the different types of foot infections vary, and unfortunately, they can occur even when a person maintains proper foot care. Common causes puncture wounds in the foot (which gives rise to bacterial infection), ingrown toenails, sweaty shoes and socks, diabetes or a poor circulation. Just like the causes of common foot infections, even the treatment of the different types varies. While some can be simply cured with the over the counter creams and ointments, some other types may involve more complex treatment solutions such as surgical draining of absscesses. In certan other cases, patients may also have to go through a course of oral medications. However, this is typically restricted to very severe cases that do not heal with the help of ointments and creams. Irrespective of the treatment type prescribed by the doctor or chosen by the patient, most foot infections can be successfully treated without much hassle.

How long does a Foot Infection last?

Foot Infections are usually caused by foot injuries including cuts as well as blisters. These injuries result in infection of the foot which is quite a painful and discomforting condition. Since feet are prone to infections as they have moist regions over them due to prolonged wearing of socks and shoes, various kinds of bacterial or fungal microbial growth can occur leading to infections. The time duration for which the Foot Infections last depends upon the type of infection and its severity, as in the case of blisters it usually takes around two to three weeks to heal. Other infections include infected cuts, infected wounds, etc. which also takes a time period of around two weeks to recover.

Summary: Foot Infections are caused due to an infection with the foot injuries such as cuts, wounds, or blisters. It is quite a painful and discomforting condition. It usually takes around two to three weeks to recover from such conditions.

What does a Foot Infection look like?

The physical appearance of Foot Infections is different in different conditions depending upon the type of infection. Some of those include:

  • Warmth in the particular affected area: It may be accompanied by swelling and inflammation in the region. Blisters filled with pus or rashes are common forms that are associated with tenderness. These are known as cellulitis.
  • Blisters: Blisters are a bubble or dome-shaped infection which when infected by bacteria or fungi can spread infection through the whole body causing sepsis. It can cause difficulty in walking, pain and tenderness, sores, inflammation, etc.
Summary: Foot Infections are accompanied by swelling and inflammation of the affected area and blisters filled with pus. A cellulitis is a common form of Foot Infection involving blisters, sores, and rashes.

How is the treatment done?

As mentioned before the treatment options will vary depending on the type of foot infection one has, and so will the way the treatment is carried out. Here are commonest ways- In case of a toenail infection, the treatment method employed is the application of topical creams on the affected area. After clenaing the affected area, the patient should gently rub the anti-bacterial ointment on that spot. This will need to be for a couple of weeks in order heal the infection. Soaking one's feet in solution of lukewarm water and epsom salt is also an option.For Athlete's foot, the application of an antifungal cream or spray on the affected area is enough. However, severe cases will require the ingestion of oral medications for at least two to six months.Foot abscesses are harder to treat than the other foot infections, and involve a two-step treatment process. The patient will have to take antibiotics orally after a meal, and will also have to visit their local clinic to get abscess professionally drained by a medical expert. In this process, an incision is made around the abscess and it is drained with the help of surgical equipment. Lastly, to treat cellulitis, a 14-day long course of antibiotics taken orally is necessary. However, in severe cases intravenous therapy maybe needed, which involves the insertion of a drip into one's veins.


Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Individuals who are sufferung from any one of the types of the foot infections mentioned are eligible for the treatment options given here. This is irrespective of the severity of the case.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

If the case of the foot infection one suffers from is very severe and medication has failed to control it, surgical intervention maybe required. Pregnant women may not be eligible for certain anitibiotics as well as oral antifungal medications prescribed for foot infections. In such casesm it's best to consult with one's doctor.

Are there any side effects?

The antibiotics prescribed can cause side effects such as vomiting, bloating, nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and more. As for the antifungal drugs, side effects of these include flatulance, feeling sick, headache, rashes and diarrhea among others. Abscess drainage has side effects too such as bleeding, pain in the area and recurrence of the infection.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

In case the infection was cured by simply with the help of medications such as oral drugs and topical ointments, patients do not have to follow any post-treatment guidelines as such. However, if the abscess drainage was the treatment, then the patient maybe barred from wearing socks of certain materials, will have to keep the area clean and free of infection, and may even be asked to wear closed or tight shoes. The same holds true for intravenous therapy.

How long does it take to recover?

Some foot infections can take a long time to heal. Patients can expect to fully recover from minor foot infections within a couple of weeks and from major ones, anywhere between two to six months.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The price of antibiotics can range from Rs. 50 to Rs 150, while that of topical ointments hovers around Rs 36 to Rs 78. To know about the price of abscess drainage, one should contact their local clinic.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The results of the treatments mentioned here for foot infections are permanent. However, infections can recur if one is exposed to the common causes of such infections.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Homeopathy is a viable alternative to the allopathic treatment options mentioned here. Homeopathy treatment for foot infections can be carried out in the form of oral medications as well as topical medications. Patients should keep in mind that homeopathic treatments can take more time to show results.

How can I treat a Foot Infection at home?

One of the common Foot Infections is Athlete’s foot, which is accompanied by infection with fungus Tinea pedis. It usually occurs and develops between the toes is itchy and scaly rashes or blisters. Some of the home remedies that treat it effectively include the following:

  • Over the counter medicines
  • Application of hydrogen peroxide
  • Neem oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Application of alcohol
  • Sea salts bath
  • Garlic
Summary: Foot Infections may be bacterial or fungal. Hence, it can be treated easily by an application of over-the-counter medicines including antibacterial or antifungal and home remedies such as neem oil, tea tree oil, garlic, and sea salts.
Conclusion: Foot Infections are usually caused by foot injuries including cuts as well as blisters. These injuries result in infection of the foot which is quite a painful and discomforting condition. Since feet are prone to infections as they have moist regions over them due to prolonged wearing of socks and shoes, various kinds of bacterial or fungal microbial growth can occur leading to infections.


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Written ByDr. S.Sagin Raj Diploma in Diabetology,CCRH (certificate in reproductive health),MBBS,F.F.M(family medicine)General Physician
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