Staph Infection on Foot: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment
A small cut on your foot can quickly turn into a staph infection if not detected early on. Understand the causes and how to treat it.
Staph infections can happen anywhere on your skin, but they’re also common on your feet. You can treat mild infections at home, but some infections are serious and need advanced care. Certain activities can raise your risk for infection, but there are simple things you can do to prevent an infection.
Common Causes of a Staph Infection on Your Feet
Your skin naturally has a mix of Staphylococci and other bacteria. Normally, these bacteria don’t cause any problems, especially for healthy people, but they can get into tiny cuts, scrapes, or wounds and lead to an infection. Some activities and patient factors can increase the risk of infection.
Public Showers or Gyms
Staph bacteria spread from person to person, mostly through direct contact or from contaminated surfaces. Public showers like those at the pool, gym, locker rooms, or dorms, as well as saunas, and hot tubs, are big culprits. Walking barefoot in these areas can lead to staph infections in wounds or cuts on your feet.
You can get bacteria from contaminated items, too. Sharing a towel, washcloth, or other linens with someone else who has an infection, or reusing dirty linens or socks when you have a staph infection can also spread bacteria.
Chronic Foot Problems
Other chronic foot problems like dry skin, athlete’s foot, ingrown toenails, or corns and calluses can also lead to a staph infection. These conditions cause tiny tears in your skin where bacteria can get in and lead to a much higher risk of problems.
How to Spot the Signs of Infection
The most common sign of a staph infection on your foot is a painful, swollen pimple, lump, or rash. These can develop into an abscess, which is a collection of pus, cells, and dead tissue. When the area becomes infected, your body sends white blood cells to fight the bacteria, which causes some tissue to die. This leads to a hole that fills up with pus and causes a bump.
Staph infections on your foot can also cause symptoms like:
If you develop a deep foot infection in foot tissues or bone, it can cause joint pain, swelling, redness, and warmth along with fever and chills.
Treating a Staph Skin Infection on Your Foot
If you wonder how to treat a staph infection on your foot, there are a few options. You can often treat a mild infection at home, but if it doesn’t get better, or the infection is moderate to severe, you’ll need to see a foot specialist for medical treatment.
Antibiotics are the first line of treatment for staph infections. For a minor infection, you can apply an over-the-counter antibiotic cream to the area and a clean bandage over the top. Avoid antiseptic solutions like hydrogen peroxide and Dakin solution unless your doctor tells you to use them. These are antibacterial, but they can damage healthy skin.
Moderate-to-severe infections or infections that don’t get better will need prescription antibiotics. Staph infections can be hard to treat for some people because the bacteria develop antibiotic resistance and don’t respond to treatment. If this happens, you may need stronger medications by IV or needle.
Your doctor might also suggest wet wound dressings for more advanced foot sores and infections. These wet dressings use sodium chloride to help keep the skin moist and promote drainage and natural healing.
Surgery to Drain Infected Wound and Cut Away Dead Tissue
Some abscesses will shrink and clear up, but some need to be drained. You might be tempted to squeeze, pop, or drain an abscess yourself, but avoid this habit. The bacteria can spread to other areas of your skin and make the infection worse.
Instead, see your doctor, chiropodist, or podiatrist. They will cut open the sore and drain the infection, which helps it heal. If you have a severe infection that spreads to the bone or causes a lot of tissue death, you’ll need emergent surgery to trim away the dead tissue and stop the spread.
Once the wound is clean, your doctor or foot specialist will apply medicated cream to the area and a dressing. Patients at risk for complications may need to stay in the hospital until there is evidence of healing.
Take Time for the Healing Process
Rest and avoid some activities until your feet heal. Keep up with your fresh bandages and personal care and avoid public places where you could spread bacteria. If you don’t see any improvement in healing in a mild infection within a few days to a week, see your health care provider.
How Proper Foot Care Prevents Staph Infections
Preventive foot care is one of the best ways to avoid foot problems, including staph infections. Keeping your skin clean and protected is essential for healthy skin.
Wash your feet with soap and water every day, especially after being in public places and after exercising. Wet, sweaty socks can encourage fungal infections and make symptoms worse, which can lead to other foot infections. Make sure to thoroughly dry your skin after washing.
Protecting your skin also helps prevent cuts, scrapes, and puncture wounds where bacteria can get in and infect the area. Wear flip-flops in public showers or pools and don’t walk barefoot outside or around the house. Wear indoor shoes, sandals, or slippers to protect your feet.
The right socks, like the official sock of The Toe Bro, can also help protect your skin. These socks use silver technology to control bacteria and odor and keep your feet clean and dry. Wear socks instead of going barefoot, which can help protect your feet from slivers and scrapes.
A few other personal care habits can help you maintain healthy feet. Make sure you:
- Moisturize. Apply petroleum jelly to dry skin to prevent cracks.
- Don’t touch sores. If you do, wash your hands right away to prevent spread.
- Treat other infections. Get on top of infections like athlete’s foot right away.
- Use fresh linens. If you have an infection, wash linens, towels, and washcloths after every use.
- Shower after workouts. If you go to the gym or pool, shower immediately after your exercise, and at home, if possible.
Stop Your Staph Infection in Its Tracks
A staph infection in your toe or on your foot can be alarming. Prevention and early treatment are the best way to avoid complications. If you have any concerns, talk to a podiatrist near you, and learn how The Toe Bro can help you maintain good foot health.
Related blog post
Common Foot Blister Causes and How to Prevent Them
Blisters are a painful skin condition in which fluid-filled sacs develop when the superficial layer of skin is damaged or injured. They act as a cushion to protect the injured area. Blisters usually occur in body parts like hands and feet, which have a thick outermost skin layer.
Read on to learn more about blisters on feet causes, their symptoms, and how to prevent foot blisters.
Foot Blister Causes and Symptoms
Foot blisters are painful because many blood vessels and nerves are in the foot. Any stimulus that damages the skin can ok.l.lead to blister formation. Here are some common causes and symptoms of foot blisters:
Pressure and friction
This is the most common cause of blister development. It usually occurs due to constant friction or pressure against abrasive surfaces like tight or uncomfortable footwear. Walking or standing for long periods can also put more pressure on your soles, heels, and toes.
If your skin burns, the body develops blisters as a protective measure toward the delicate tissues underneath the skin. With severe burns, blisters may appear immediately, but you may not notice them due to the burn. Mild burns or sunburn blisters may take one or two days to appear. Excessive moisture from perspiration during hot weather can also increase skin friction and sweat, clogging the skin pores and leading to blisters.
You may get frostbite in extremely frigid temperatures, causing the death of some skin cells and resulting in blisters. Although frostbite blisters may appear soon after exposure, you may find it difficult to differentiate the symptoms from frostbite wounds.
Exposure to any allergen or irritant causes your skin to inflame, leading to blisters. Chemical burns can also cause blisters. These blisters may be visible immediately if the chemical is strong or the amount of exposure is high. Steady or low-dose exposure can result in the gradual development of blisters. Some of the main types of irritants include insect bites or stings, chemicals in skin cleansers, detergents, or cleaning solutions, metals like cobalt or nickel, corrosive lab chemicals, sulfates, and toxic agents or gases.
Damaged blood vessels
If the small blood vessels (capillaries) in the topmost layer of the skin burst, they can leak blood into the tissue, leading to blood blisters. These blisters usually occur when your skin is pinched or crushed with great force.
Medical conditions or medication that causes skin damage can result in blister formation. Some of the common medical causes of blisters include the following: infections like chicken pox, diabetic neuropathy, skin reactions like dyshidrotic eczema (dry skin with blisters), autoimmune conditions like pemphigus, plantar wart treatment, medications like antibiotics and blood thinners, and obesity, which increases the pressure on your feet.
How Friction Blisters Form
Human skin has three layers — epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous (under the skin) fat. Blisters develop when a pocket of fluid collects below the epidermis or the uppermost skin layer. This fluid may be blood, pus (if the blister becomes infected), or a clear liquid (most common), depending on the type of injury causing the blister.
Friction blisters form when your skin rubs against rough surfaces like shoes or socks for prolonged periods. This rubbing causes the skin to become irritated and inflamed, resulting in redness, swelling, and pain. Initially, a red sore develops in the inflamed area. If you don’t remove the source of friction, small tears can occur in the raw skin. Body fluids then seep into this area to protect the underlying tissues from further harm. These friction blisters can be painful and tender to the touch, making it difficult to walk or apply weight to the sore spot.
Preventing Painful Blister Formation
Regular foot care is critical to prevent skin irritation, which may result in blisters. Here are some additional precautions you can take to avoid painful foot blisters and what causes foot blisters:
Take Time to Break in Your New Kicks
Shoe bites are a common cause of blisters. Avoid tight or ill-fitting shoes to minimize the risk of blisters, and don’t immediately wear new shoes to long outings. Take the time to break them in first. You can do this by wearing them at home for brief periods, using chunky socks, or even blow-drying them so that the heat can expand the material.
Wear Moisture-Wicking Socks
Wear an extra pair of socks to protect your feet when planning strenuous activities that involve a lot of walking or running. But this may increase perspiration in hot weather, resulting in sweaty feet. Instead, use moisture-wicking socks that can absorb sweat to minimize chafing.
If you’re unsure where to get good-quality moisture-wicking socks, we recommend the official sock of The Toe Bro. These socks dry quickly, help in temperature and odor control, and are highly durable.
Add Shoe Inserts to Reduce Rubbing
Some shoes may have rough seams that increase chafing. Shoe inserts like cushioned insoles or heel pads can help shock absorption and minimize the friction caused by walking, jogging, or running outdoors for a long time.
At Home Treatment Options
Blisters usually heal on their own within 1 to 2 weeks. The most important trick is to remove the stimulus that caused the blister. Here are some other tips recommended by dermatologists to self-treat your blisters:
- Apply a cold compress or an ice pack wrapped in a towel to your blister for 15 to 20 minutes to reduce the painful swelling.
- Cover the blister loosely with a soft bandage, with the middle portion slightly raised.
- Place padding in a donut shape around the blister to reduce pressure on your feet.
- Avoid picking at or popping blisters, although large blisters may need draining. Pierce the edge with a small, sterilized needle to let the fluid drain out without applying excessive force.
- After the blister bursts or you drain it, gently clean the area with mild soap or antiseptic solution, pat it dry, and apply petroleum jelly or antibiotic ointment.
- Don’t pull off the skin at the surface of the burst blister, as it will protect the damaged skin from debris and the risk of infection until it heals.
When to See a Health Professional Like The Toe Bro
You may need foot blister treatment from a licensed foot specialist if the blister is oozing pus, bleeding, or emitting a foul odor.
Seek medical attention immediately if you notice that your blister isn’t healing, seems infected, or you begin to have symptoms like fever, nausea, or chills.
The Toe Bro also recommends high-quality products to maintain your best foot health.
Why You Shouldn’t Leave Toenail Fungus Untreated: Long-Term Effects
Nail fungus is a common problem most people will have at some point in their life. It’s usually not serious, but untreated toenail fungus can lead to long-term effects and potentially permanent damage.
Common Causes of Toenail Fungus
As it sounds, nail fungus is a fungus that infects your nail. Anyone can get toenail fungus, but some activities, habits, and health conditions can increase your risk.
Nail Injuries and Other Infections
You typically have bacteria and other organisms on your feet, but they rarely cause any problems. However, these fungi can invade your nail through tiny cracks or injuries and cause an infection where they feed on your nails and burrow into your skin. Other fungal infections like athlete’s foot can spread across your skin and get into injured or cracked nails.
Wet and Sweaty Feet
Fungi grow in warm and damp areas, so you’re more likely to get toenail fungus if your feet are constantly hot and sweaty, like when you:
- Don’t change your socks after a workout.
- Wear tight shoes with poor circulation and non-wicking socks.
- Have a condition that makes you sweat a lot.
Public Locker Rooms
Nail fungus can also spread from person to person and through contaminated surfaces or personal items. Walking barefoot in public showers, pools, hot tubs, saunas, and locker rooms can lead to an infection, especially if you have a crack in your nail. You can also pick it up from shared sports equipment, towels, or linens.
Other Chronic Conditions
Fungal infections are harder to fight when you have a low immune system and other ongoing conditions. These infections are more common in older people and those with HIV, cancer, diabetes, peripheral artery disease, or psoriasis.
Toenail Fungus Symptoms
Fungal nail infections happen slowly, so you might not notice any symptoms initially. The first sign is often a white or yellow spot on your nail, and as it gets worse, you’ll see your toenails become:
- Yellow, black, green, or white
- Brittle or crumbly
Eventually, the infection spreads to your other nails and the skin around your toes. Your skin might feel hot, itchy, or burning and may be red, swollen, and cracked.
What Happens if You Leave Toenail Fungus Untreated
Nail fungus isn’t usually problematic for most people but can lead to potential complications. The risk of untreated toenail fungus can range from nail separation to nerve damage and other bacterial infections.
Separation of Toenail From Nail Bed
As an untreated fungal infection spreads through your nail, the tissue directly underneath your nail plate thickens and changes shape. Fungal debris builds up, which causes your nail to lift, although it’s typically painless. Once it lifts off, your nail can’t reattach, and a new nail cannot grow back from that spot, leading to permanent damage.
Itchiness and Pain, Especially in Shoes or While Walking
Fungi that spread to the skin around your toes can cause intense itchiness. Walking can apply pressure to an infected nail or cause your shoes to rub, leading to significant foot pain.
Spread of Fungus to Other Nails
An infection usually starts on one toe but can spread to your other nails. Dirty nail clippers, nail files, or improper hand washing after touching your feet can spread the infection to your fingernails. Once the infection spreads to many nails, it can be hard to treat and cure.
Development of Bacterial Infection and Toenail Removal
Chronic foot conditions also increase your risk of other infections. If it spreads to the skin around your nails, cracks can develop where bacteria can enter and cause an infection. These can range from rashes, boils, abscesses, or deep tissue infections and are more likely to happen if you have diabetes or other chronic conditions.
How to Treat a Toenail Fungal Infection Properly
Nail fungus does not go away without treatment, and it can be challenging to treat and cure, especially with home remedies or over-the-counter products. However, your foot specialist can provide effective treatment.
Prescription Topical treatments
Various antifungal products, like nail polish, are available at your local pharmacy. While these products might help your nail appearance, they will not cure the infection. Instead, see your foot specialist for effective prescription topical treatments.
They can treat a mild infection with prescription antifungal cream and nail trimming. Antifungal medications can help kill infections on top of the nail before they invade deeper tissue. You need to apply them regularly and pay special attention to your habits.
The best nail fungus treatment is prescription antifungal pills you take by mouth. In most cases, you need to take these pills between three and six months. If you have a severe infection, your doctor or foot specialist might need to remove your toenail. They might apply a chemical to your nail to make it fall off or do a surgical procedure to remove it.
Personal Care Habits
The most important way to treat and prevent nail fungus is to keep your feet clean and dry. Wash your feet with soap and water and thoroughly dry them, especially after a workout. Wear shoes that have some room and let your feet breathe.
Wear clean socks every day and change your socks after a workout. Breathable, wicking socks to keep your feet dry and control microbes are best. The official sock of The Toe Bro use silver technology to control bacteria and lycra cuffs that help circulation.
Other preventive foot care tips include:
- Treat other infections like athlete’s foot.
- Wear shower shoes in public places to protect your feet.
- Use fresh linens every day.
- Avoid sharing towels, washcloths, shoes, or socks with other people.
- Get rid of old shoes that might have fungal contamination.
Maintain Healthy Nails by Prioritizing Foot Care
Toenail fungus can be painful and unsightly and hard to treat and cure. However, you can prevent infections by keeping clean feet and proper foot care habits. If you have any concerns, talk to a podiatrist near you, and see how The Toe Bro can help you maintain healthy nails and feet.
7 Foot Care Tips for Better Foot Health
Your feet work hard. They take several thousand steps a day to get you from point A to point B — all while bearing the weight of your body. You stand on them a long time and put them into shoes that may not be the best fit. Unfortunately, these conditions can eventually cause a range of foot problems. So how can you take care of your feet and avoid chronic foot issues? This article will cover seven excellent foot care tips to keep your feet healthy.
Foot Care Tips To Keep Your Feet Healthy
It's important to know how to take care of your feet to keep them healthy for years to come. You can implement these seven tips to build a good foot care routine and avoid foot issues.
1. Avoid Wearing Tight Shoes
Shoe fit is very important to your foot health.
Tight shoes restrict your blood flow, causing poor circulation that damages your feet in the long run. They may also cause foot pain that could become chronic.
Over time, you may notice calluses, blisters, ingrown toenails, and corns on your feet. They may even deform your feet with conditions like hammertoes and bunions.
2. Wear Shoes With Arch Support
Once you've got comfortable shoes that fit, you need to make sure your arch is adequately supported. Your arch does it all — it supports your body weight, propels you forward when you move, and absorbs shock anytime your foot hits the ground. Over time, your arch can become strained or weakened from the stress.
Arch supports keep your arch in good condition because they:
- Distribute pressure evenly
- Support the lower body
- Help with alignment
- Prevent arch trauma
- Provide balance and stability
- Prevent and lessen foot pain
So really, everyone can benefit from arch supports. Look for shoe brands that are known for providing good arch support. You may benefit from a custom shoe insert if you have shoes that fit well but don't provide enough arch support.
Also, try to avoid wearing flats and flip-flops every day. Although they are comfortable, they don't support your arch enough and may lead to a foot injury down the line.
3. Keep Your Feet Clean and Mostly Dry
Feet often sweat throughout the day, providing a perfect breeding ground for harmful fungi. So pay special attention to your feet when you shower or bathe. Good foot hygiene goes a long way toward eliminating foot odor.
Be careful! You don't want to soak your feet in hot water or leave them in the water for too long. This may cause dry skin, which leads to skin irritation and flaking.
After you clean your feet thoroughly, be sure to dry them. Don't be shy — get in between your toes to prevent fungal infections like athlete's foot.
4. Inspect Regularly for Foot Ailments
Practicing a good foot care routine allows you to catch any potential issues before they arise. Inspect your feet for any changes daily, and look out for any sores, cuts, swelling, or infected toenails.
Use antiseptic and healing creams if you notice any cuts, and go to the podiatrist immediately if you have unexpected swelling or infected toenails.
After all, prevention is always the best cure.
5. Use Nail Clippers Correctly
We may tend to use nail clippers to clip and shape our toenails. But this can cause damage to the tender skin of your nail bed.
It's important to use nail clippers correctly. Make sure they're stainless steel, so the blades stay sharp for longer. A dull blade is more dangerous than a sharp one.
Use the nail clippers only to trim the toenail straight across. You then want to use a nail file or emery board to gently smooth and round the corners.
You can also use the nail file or emery board to push your cuticles back. However, you want to avoid cutting them, so they don't split or bleed.
6. Use Moisturizing Cream at Night
Chronic dry skin can cause skin irritation and flakiness. To avoid this, use moisturizing cream every night right after you dry your feet off.
You can use creams, lotions, or even petroleum jelly. These are all nourishing emollients that sink into the skin and create a barrier to protect it. Your feet will be noticeably softer and well-hydrated.
You can even give your feet a gentle massage as you apply your moisturizer, which can help stretch the tendons and contribute to your foot's muscular health.
Afterward, you can put on socks or wrap your feet in plastic wrap for at least an hour for better lotion absorption, especially if you have dry skin.
But don't put any moisturizer between your toes to prevent a fungal or bacterial infection. Remember, you want to keep that area dry.
7. Don't Perform DIY Surgery on Ingrown Nails
We all know that ingrown toenails are annoying and even downright painful, and it's tempting to do a little DIY surgery to get rid of them. However, this is dangerous.
Many people dig out ingrown nails with nail clippers or use floss to "splint" the toenail. These home remedies create a wide opening for harmful bacteria to get into the skin and develop into a nasty infection.
Go see your podiatrist instead. They are experts in all things feet and will safely get rid of your ingrown toenail in sanitary conditions. They can also prevent ingrown nails from regrowing and causing issues in the future.
Schedule Periodic Foot Exams and Invest in Advanced Foot Products
It's important to practice proper foot care. This includes wearing comfortable shoes, practicing good foot hygiene, and using the proper tools and creams.
You also want to visit your podiatrist for periodic foot exams to prevent the development of foot problems. They can also improve your foot health by performing procedures like ingrown toenail removal. These steps will ensure that your feet stay healthy and happy for many years.
Make sure you use products made for your feet. Here at The Toe Bro, we know how important it is for you to take care of your feet. That's why we provide high-quality advanced foot products to tackle and prevent a host of foot problems afflicting people today. Feel free to visit our website and add products to your routine today. You won't regret investing in your foot health.