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 Bacterial Infections


Signs of bacterial infection of the skin include pain, redness, draining, swelling, and pitting and sloughing of the skin. In severe infections, malaise, loss of appetite, fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting can occur. It is always safest to have a suspected infection evaluated by a medical professional. Any one experiencing symptoms of infection should seek immediate medical attention.

There are several common bacterial infections of the foot. Pitted keratolysis is a minor bacterial infection  where small, dark pits typically form on the heels, though some people may have other symptoms. In some cases, these pitted lesions cause itching and discomfort. A doctor may prescribe an antibiotic medication if there is itching and discomfort. 



An ingrown toenail can puncture the skin and cause a painful bacterial infection, commonly on the big toe. In minor cases, soaking the infected toe in warm soapy water twice daily and covering the site with iodine or a topical antibiotic and a bandage can help heal the infection. Check the nail and remove any sharo edges that may be the cause of the infection. For recurrent in fections, a podiatrist may need to care for the nail. See the chapter on nails for more information.

Feet that sweat excessively are especially vulnerable to an infection that may mimic a bacterial infection but is caused by a type of fungus known as yeast. Candida albicans is a common yeast that thrives in warm, moist environments, which makes the skin between the toes an ideal location for infection. White, sloughing skin with surrounding redness is a sign of Candida albicans infection.

This yeast infection is often mistaken for athlete's foot, but is not treatable with some of the more common over the-counter athlete's foot medications. If a suspected case of athlete's foot does not improve after two to three days of using topical antifugal medications, then a b acterial or candida infection may be present. Seek care from a medical professional.

Reference: Great Feet for Life: Paul Langer, DPM

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