Cellulitis is a relatively common infection of the skin and the soft tissues underneath that occurs when bacteria enter an opening in the skin. Certain individuals are more at risk for cellulitis, but knowing what to watch for and how to prevent the condition can help keep your feet safe. Today, we take a closer look at the causes, symptoms and treatment options for cellulitis of the feet.
Causes and Symptoms of Cellulitis
As we noted above, cellulitis is an infection that occurs when bacteria makes its way under your skin. Because of this, the most common causes of cellulitis include the development of cuts or sores, complications associated with surgery, foreign objects becoming embedded in the skin, or conditions like eczema or psoriasis.
Similarly, certain individuals are at an elevated risk for developing cellulitis for one reason or another. Those individuals include diabetics, people with peripheral artery disease or other circulatory issues, individuals with liver disease or those with a weakened immune system.
Symptoms of cellulitis include:
Pain or tenderness
Leaking of yellow, clear fluid or pus
If your symptoms of cellulitis are accompanied by a high fever or vomiting, contact a medical professional right away, as it could be a sign of a serious problem.
Diagnosis and Treatment Of Cellulitis
If you suspect that you have cellulitis, consider heading into a foot specialist’s office. They’ll begin by conducting a physical exam of your feet and going over your family history. From there, they may perform some additional tests, like a blood test to look for bacteria, an x-ray to search for impediments or bone infection, and a culture of the infection to determine exactly what type of bacteria has developed.
Caught early enough, conservative treatments work wonders for cellulitis of the foot. Common conservative treatment options include rest, elevation, over-the-counter pain relievers and oral antibiotics. If your infection is a little more severe, or you have other medical issues, your doctor may opt for IV-delivered antibiotics.
In rare cases, surgery is necessary to remove the infection or to deal with any lingering affects of cellulitis in your feet. The doctor will open and drain the abscess or pus that has collected in the area and cut away any dead tissue so that healing can occur. Surgery is more common in diabetics or individuals with neuropathic issues in their extremities.
Most patients experience a decrease in symptoms a few days after they begin their treatment plan, and they eventually go on to have a full recovery. Keeping your feet clean and caring to any cuts and wounds can prevent any future developments of cellulitis.