Infected Toe – Causes, Treatment and Preventive Measures of Infected Toe
Infected toe is definitely not nice to see. It leads to embarrassing symptoms and painful and irritating problems. Because there are several possible causes of the condition, it is important that you determine the exact culprit causing the problem. In most cases, the infection heals on its own. But in moderate to severe types, you need to explore different treatment options. You should also see your doctor to help you manage the symptoms.
What are the causes of infected toe?
Infected toe comes from a variety of causes. You need to first know the exact cause of your problem before you can start the appropriate treatment.
The most common cause of infected toe is fungal infection. Fungi are organisms that thrive in warm and moist environment. Because the feet are conducive for their growth, they easily proliferate in the area and affect the toes. The fungal infection is very common if you have sweaty feet. You can also get the fungi after swimming in contaminated pools. The organisms thrive in the toe causing the infected toe. There are several genera of fungi that lead to the problem. However, most doctors do not require the identification of the fungi. When they see the symptoms like flaking, white patches, nail discoloration, thick nails, distortion and detachment of nails from the nail bed, they will start prescribing anti-fungal medications.
Bacterial causes of infected toe happen when germs enter the open wounds. The germs cause the infection and swelling in the area. Redness is the initial symptom that appears followed by inflammation and pain. In most cases of the infected toe, pus develops. The fluid contains tissue debris, bacteria and white blood cells. Because bacterial infection easily spreads, it is important that you treat the problem right away. Otherwise, the infection leads to complications like spread to nearby toes. Among diabetic patients, the infected toe leads to a gangrenous wound. If left untreated, this can lead to amputation.
Toe infection also happens after a nail trauma from a pedicure or after accidentally bumping the area from a hard object. The trauma leads to painful swelling and possible bleeding. Because of the open wound or cut in the skin, this becomes more prone to either bacterial or fungal invasion.
What are the treatment options for the infected toe?
There are different treatment options for the infected toe. The options depend on the cause of the problem. But generally, they can be categorized into the following:
Antifungal and antibiotics are often prescribed to treat the cause of the problem. Your doctor will have to prescribe them depending on the severity of the infection. Your health care provider will give you the right dosage and the correct timing of taking the medications. Be sure to follow the directions to ensure successful treatment. Finish the whole course even when you are feeling better and even when the symptoms of infected toe disappear. Otherwise, the chances of recurrence are very high and next time around, the organisms become more resistant and more difficult to treat.
Topical treatments like the use of cream are very effective in treating the infected toe. They are available as over-the-counter medications which you can purchase without the prescription of your doctor. Apply the cream in the affected area after cleaning your toes. Allow it to be absorbed before wearing your footwear. If you have to wear your shoes right away, you can cover it with a bandage. But as much as possible, you have to keep it open to allow air to enter and facilitate faster healing.
Aside from using the doctor prescribed medications, you can also supplement the treatment using home remedies for infected toe. Mix an equal part of lukewarm water and vinegar in a basin. Soak your feet in the mixture for 15 minutes. The antibacterial and antifungal property can help reduce the symptoms of the problem. Other home solutions to treat infected toe include the use of teat tree oil, lavender oil, coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. Use these as soaking solutions or apply the oil directly to the affected area.
What are the preventive measures?
Although it is important to know the treatment of infected toe, it is also crucial if you know the ways on how to prevent the problem. Here are the proven ways on how you can avoid future infections.
- Keep the feet dry and use foot powder if necessary.
- Be extra careful when cleaning your nails. Avoid puncturing your skin.
- When going to a salon, demand that the manicurist use newly sterilized pedicure tools to avoid contamination.
- Get comfortable shoes that fit well.
- Always wear water shoes if you have to go to a public pool.
- Do not share your shoes or sandals with other people.
These preventive measures should protect you from future onset of infected toe. But if these do not work for you and the infection keeps on coming back, you should see your doctor right away.