Inflammation or Infection of a Toe, Foot, or Ankle
Infection can develop after an injury or wound to the skin. Signs of
infection may include:
- Increased pain, swelling, redness, or warmth
around the affected area.
- Red streaks extending from the affected
- Pus draining from the area.
Inflammation develops as a normal protective response of the
immune system when body tissue is irritated for
whatever reason. When tissue is irritated, the immune system increases blood
flow to the area. This causes localized swelling, warmth, and redness. The
swelling may put pressure on nerve endings which may cause pain in the area.
Inflammation may occur in joints or extremities. Inflammation may occur with
overuse of a body area or with minor injuries. Symptoms of inflammation may be
present in conditions such as
It may be hard to tell the difference between inflammation or an
infection, so be sure to evaluate any other symptoms that are
Pain and swelling that occur without an injury and with redness, red
streaking, tenderness, heat, fever, or pus may be caused by an
infection. Infections can occur without a known injury to the affected area.
- Pain, swelling, redness, and warmth that develop
suddenly in a big toe joint may be caused by
- Other conditions or diseases that
may cause inflammation include:
Minor infections may go away on their own or with home treatment
measures. These include:
More serious infections should be evaluated by your health
professional. These include:
People who have
peripheral arterial disease, or an impaired immune
system are more likely to develop a toe or foot infection or have complications
from an infection.
Mild inflammation or minor infections usually will clear up on their
Prompt medical treatment of an infection can prevent serious
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
October 1, 2012