Foot infection occurs when bacteria get in touch with the foot either through a wound or through the skin. Foot infection is painful and makes us difficult to walk. In most cases, minor foot infections, infection occurs after a foot injury.

Wound attracts bacteria so easily. Such as a cut or cracked skin, and cause an infection. Athletes' foot and toenail fungus are two common forms of bacterial foot infection. A few months ago, I was infected by an athlete's foot.

At that time, I was getting to know what foot infection is and how I can treat it at home. If left untreated, bacterial infections in the foot could lead to bacterial skin infection or cellulitis.

And when cellulitis occurs, it is a serious skin infection that can spread to the lymph nodes and bloodstream. Here, I will cover the main causes, types, and treatments of foot infections.

Types Of Foot Infections

Generally, there are four types of foot infections.

Athletes Foot

A common and contagious fungal infection for the foot is the Athlete's foot. It usually develops after direct exposure to the fungus. This type of fungus is found in a moist environment like a locker room, public shower, or swimming pool.

Even it is contagious that you can get from skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. An athlete's foot can generate mild to severe symptoms. The symptoms include

  • A scaly rash on the feet that can burn.
  • A rash on the bottom of the foot.
  • A string.
  • An itch.

The rash on feet may lead to blisters, bumps, or dry, cracked, and peeling skin.

The condition can frequently come back and also spread the blister on the pinky toe and cause a fungal nail infection.

To treat an Athlete's foot, a podiatrist usually prescribes Athlete's foot spray, cream, or over-the-counter medications.

Toenail Fungal Infections

Close up image of a toe affected with toenai fungus. Credit- ReviewsFellas©

A toenail fungus infection can be hideous and problematic to treat. It grows when fungi enter your nails through a wound or small opening.

The fungi grow best in warm, moist environments, such as wet socks or shoes. If you get white or yellow spots under the tip of the nail, it is called white toenails.

As the fungus grows, the nail tissue and toenail will thicken and become discolored and turn into black toenail fungus.

The treatment of toenail fungus is difficult, and it is recommended to see a podiatrist as early as possible. It can take more than 4 months to recover from a toenail fungal infection. You can use iodine for toenail fungus at home. But it will not give you a proper solution.

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are the small or tiny growths that develop on the sole of the foot. They are also caused by a viral infection and are highly contagious.

Warts on feet typically grow on the outer coating of the skin, but plantar warts can grow into the deeper layers of the skin. And it is painful. They appear in brown, gray, or yellow color and feel rough to the touch.

Plantar warts can eventually go away on their own without any medical treatment.

Diabetic Foot Infection and Ulcerations

People with diabetes are at advanced risk for developing diabetic foot infections and other serious infections like ulcers or eczema on their feet because of complications like diabetic neuropathy, nerve damage, and peripheral vascular disease for poor circulation or blood flow.

Nerve damage can generate a loss of sensation in the feet. Poor circulation and a weakened immune system slow down the healing process.

Statistics Of Foot Infection For Diabetics Patients

Statistics show us that it is more common to grow foot infections in diabetics people.

Common Symptoms

Risk Chances

Foot ulcer

19% and 34%

Recurrence of Foot Ulcer

40% of patients

Lower extremity amputations

Approximately 20%

Symptoms Of Foot Infections

Common symptoms of an infected foot depend on the variety of causes of skin infections.

Infected Blister

A person showing foot blisters on his toe. Credit- ReviewsFellas©

Foot blisters or pinky toe blisters are pouches of fluid that grow under your skin. Usually caused by friction from new shoes that are too tight. Foot blisters can become infected easily and need immediate treatment.

Warmth and redness around the blister are indications of infection. Fluid can be clear fluid, yellow and greenish pus. In severe cases of Athlete's foot, you can develop blisters between your toes.

Change In Skin Color

Skin color will change in an infected foot. Redness is a common symptom of infection. White, flaky patches between toes are common signs.


The skin around the infected area may feel warm to the touch. This is a significant sign of cellulitis.

Bad Smell

You will notice a bad smell coming from your foot. You may also detect an odor from a sore around the skin of an ingrown toenail.


Inflammation is a typical symptom of an infected foot. Swelling may spread to your entire foot. Swelling may also induce your skin to appear shiny or waxy.

Toenail discoloration

Toenail fungus can cause a white or yellow spot under the tip of a toenail.


Fever is an ordinary symptom of infection. A fever can cause you to feel lethargic and have body aches.

Pus Or Fluid Drainage

In a foot abscess, you will have a dribble of pus or fluid from your infected foot.

Foot Infection Causes

Some common causes of foot infections are:

Wounds Or Puncture Wounds

Cuts, scrapes, and cracks on your feet can entitle bacteria to enter and cause severe infection, including bacterial cellulitis.

Ingrown Nails

An ingrown toenail appears when the rim of a toenail grows into your skin. This can occur when you wear very tight shoes or cut your nail into a curve instead of straight through.

Your podiatrist will trim your toenail and treat it with the application of medicated nail polish or oral antifungal medication.

Fungal Infection Or Bacterial Infection

People whose feet are damp for extended periods, such as sweating in shoes all day or working in wet conditions, and wearing wet socks are at great risk of most bacterial infections.

Foot Infection After Surgery Or Foot Injuries

A foot infection can be possible from the difficulty of surgery, such as fixing a fractured toe, foot, leg, or ankle.

Home Treatment Of Foot Infection

In the very first stage, you can treat foot infection at home. However, medical treatment is a must if you get affected by bacteria.

An athlete's foot or plantar warts can normally be treated at home. You can follow some handy steps to prevent foot infections.

  • Use Athlete's foot spray or antifungal creams.
  • Use antifungal foot powder or topical creams before wearing socks and shoes.
  • OTC salicylic acid for plantar warts.
  • Apply antibiotic cream after washing feet after returning home.
  • Use a foot blister bandage or blister pads.
  • Avoid wearing tight shoes.
  • Always keep your feet dry and cool.
  • Wash your feet with iodine for toenail fungus removal.

Medical Or Surgical Treatments

Infected diabetic ulcers and bacterial cellulitis require immediate medical treatment. Even you will need surgery.

Available foot infection treatment options are

  • Oral antibiotics or topical antibiotics
  • Broad spectrum antibiotics.
  • Prescription antifungal pills or creams
  • Cryotherapy to remove plantar warts
  • Vacuum-assisted closure for diabetic foot ulcers
  • Surgery

In case of infection worsens, aggressive treatment or emergency medical help may need.

Final Thoughts

Some people have sensitive skin. They are at increased risk of more serious complications from serious foot infections. Especially people with diabetes have the risk of foot infection because high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels and nerves in the feet.

That's why they need to take great care of fungal foot infections. Untreated common infections may cause serious consequences.