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Infected Toe: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis

An individual can have an Infected Toe due to a variety of reasons like a trauma to the skin, viral infections, or bacteria or fungal infections. An individual with an Infected Toe will have severe pain in the toe region along with swelling, erythema, and warmth around the toe. In some cases, if an individual suffers a trauma to the toe such as being run over by an automobile or something heavy falling on the toe and there is an open wound then the chances of the individual having an Infected Toe increases as the wound is open to all the contaminants in the atmosphere and hence needs to be treated emergently.

One of the signs of a toes infection is red streaks which extend from the affected region. Pus draining from the wound is yet another sign of an Infected Toe. The individual with infected toe may also develop fever due to the infection. An inflammation which is the body’s natural response to any perceived threat also causes the same symptoms. When a tissue gets irritated, the body immune system increases the blood flow to this region which causes localized, swelling and redness. This increased blood flow causes pressure on the nerve endings resulting in pain. Inflammation can occur due to any reason whether it be overuse or due to any medical condition like arthritis or bursitis.

An Infected Toe needs to be treated emergently as it may lead to various other problems like difficulty ambulating, problems with moving the legs, and if the infection spreads to other adjoining parts then it may cause aggravation of any underlying medical condition like arthritis or bursitis especially in the elderly population.

What are the Causes of Infected Toe?

What are the Causes of Infected Toe?

An individual can suffer from infected toe due to viral infection, bacteria infection, fungal infection, or a trauma or an injury which gets infected if not treated or take care of appropriately. Individuals who have a known diagnosis of diabetes mellitus and peripheral arterial disease are at an increased risk for developing toe infection. Also, people with a compromised immune system especially in the elderly population are also at an increased risk for developing Infected Toe.

What are the Symptoms of Infected Toe?

Some of the symptoms of an Infected Toe are:

  • Severe persistent pain in the toe region can be a symptom of toe infection
  • Swelling, erythema and warmth in the toe region is also a symptom of infected toe
  • Red streaks extending from the toe region
  • Pus or drainage from the area of the injury in the toe region
  • Fever which may be sometimes high.

How is Infected Toe Diagnosed?

To diagnose an Infected Toe, the doctor will first do a careful inspection of the affected toe. If an infection is suspected, then the doctor will order some laboratory testing to check for white count levels which will be increased in cases of an infection. These tests will virtually confirm the diagnosis of Infected Toe.

How is Infected Toe Treated?

Minor cases of toe infection do not require any treatment and the body’s immune system is good enough to take care of such infections, especially in the younger population whose immune system is quite good.

For elderly population and for those people who have a compromised immune system, the treatment for Infected Toe depends on the type of infection the patient has. In cases of infected toe due to bacterial infection, the type of bacteria will first be identified and the patient will be prescribed appropriate antibiotics to which the bacterium is sensitive to. The patient will be put on a course of antibiotics for a period of two to three weeks before stopping and by that time the infection is completely treated.

For infected toe caused due to viral infections, since antibiotics are not helpful antiviral medications are given. Antiviral drugs interfere with the viral enzymes and thus treat the toe infection. The patient may be prescribed a course of antiviral medication for a period of a couple of weeks until the infection is treated.

If an Infected Toe is caused due to a fungal infection then antifungal medications will be prescribed for a couple of weeks to get rid of Infected Toe.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 18, 2023

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