Common Foot Infections: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Common Foot Infections: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Aug 17 , 2021


Tags - Common Foot Infections

Now you may think you have the cleanest feet in the world, but everyone’s feet are in constant contact with microorganisms that can cause an infection.

And there are a number of reasons why someone may have a foot infection or increase the likelihood of getting one.

Unfortunately, an infected foot can be quite painful to walk on and therefore, has to be treated properly. The type of treatment will depend on the infection itself, but if it’s left too late it can cause serious skin infections that can spread into the lymph nodes and blood streams. 

Hence, understanding the symptoms and causes are important so you know what to look out for. Let’s take a look at this in more detail…

Symptoms of Foot Infections

Some symptoms may be obvious as they cause pain, swelling or discolouration but others may not be so apparent.

Generally speaking, common symptoms include:

Change in Skin Colour

At times, with an infected foot you may notice a change in skin colour.

Typically, if you see an area of redness or streaks of red in a certain area, this could indicate you have an infection.

Plus, changes like white, flaky patches (especially between the toes) is a sign of athlete’s foot.

So, if you notice any skin colour changes, definitely get this checked out to be on the safe side.

Change in Nail Colour

Fungus can cause toenails to change colour, usually into an unattractive brown/yellow toenail.

To begin with, it may look like a small white or yellow dot underneath the tip of your toenail.

But, leave this untreated and the toenail can become completely discoloured or even get thicker or crooked.


Some foot infections can cause some really foul odors, so if you have an infection you may find your feet are smellier (than normal!)


In some cases, infections can make that area of the foot feel warmer to touch than usual.


Usually, swelling is a tell-tale sign of a foot infection. On one hand, it could just be the infected area that swells, such as your big toe for example. On the other hand, infections can cause the whole foot to swell, making the skin look shiny or wax-like.

Causes of Foot Infections

Foot infections can happen to anyone, but usually they are as a result of bacteria or existing medical conditions. Here are some common causes:


Athlete’s foot is the common type of fungal infection and happens to those who spend a lot of time in a tight pair of shoes or working in wet weather conditions.

Not very pleasant, athlete’s foot can be extremely itchy and cause the skin on the foot to flake away and become sore - especially between the toes.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails happen when the edge of the nail starts to grow into the skin. Typically, this happens when people wear shoes that are too tight or they’ve trimmed the nail in a curve-like angle, rather than straight across.

Consequently, the skin around the ingrown toenail can become infected.


The smallest of cuts, scrapes and cracks in the skin of your feet is a gateway for bacteria. Once it enters, it can cause an infection like bacterial cellulitis, for example.


People with diabetes are more at risk of developing a foot infection.

Simply because high blood sugar levels can cause damage to the skin, blood vessels and nerves in the feet, making it difficult for them to repair themselves, even from minor blisters.

In other words, people with diabetes tend to have a reduced blood flow, which means the healing process is slower and gives bacteria more time to take over.

Treatments for Foot Infections 

Almost all foot infections will require some form of treatment. 

Luckily though, there are some home remedies and over-the-counter treatments available.

Some of these include: antifungal creams, sprays or powders, salicylic acid for warts, antibiotic cream or blister pads.

Aside from treatments, you should avoid wearing shoes that are too tight and try to keep your feet as cool and dry as possible.

In severe cases, like diabetic ulcers, you may require surgery, but this of course depends on the severity of the infection.

Please contact us today for more information.

In the meantime, check out our extended range of comfortable shoes.

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