What are Foot Infections?
Foot infections may occur after trauma to the foot or loss of tissue because of contamination from foreign material and/or bacteria or fungus. Infections can occur in healthy individuals as well as in those whose health is compromised.
What are the Different Types of Foot Infections?
Common foot infections include:
- Diabetic foot: Diabetic foot infections are one of the common complications of uncontrolled diabetes. Increased blood sugar levels can damage nerves and blood vessels, leading to loss of sensation and reduced blood flow to the feet. Because of losing sensation to pain, heat or cold, foot injuries may be ignored and can worsen without intervention. The reduced blood supply also does not facilitate normal healing. Even minor wounds can result in ulcers and eventually gangrene that may sometimes necessitate amputation.
- Athlete’s foot: This is an infection of the feet caused by fungus that occurs after exposure to warm moist environments such as sweaty shoes, locker rooms, and swimming pools. The skin between the toes appears red, cracked or peeled, and may be itchy.
- Gangrene: This condition is characterized by the death of tissue from decreased blood supply and exposure to infection, and is a frequent complication of diabetics. Immediate treatment with the removal of the dead tissue is important to prevent the spread of infection, which can be life-threatening.
- Cellulitis: This is a bacterial infection that starts in the skin and can spread rapidly to other parts of the body, lymph nodes, and bloodstream. Cellulitis most commonly occurs in the lower parts of the leg within small cuts or puncture wounds after surgery or may be associated with dermatitis, diabetic ulcers or athlete’s foot. Left untreated, it can become life-threatening.
- Osteomyelitis: This is a rare bacterial infection that can occur in the bones of the foot, especially when your immune system is weakened or compromised by certain conditions such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, or after bone surgery. Infection may spread to the bone from the overlying skin or from soft tissue infections through the blood supply.
What is Ankle Dislocation?
Ankle dislocation is a condition that occurs when the bones of the lower leg called the fibula and tibia get separated from the talus or ankle bone. This can cause serious damage to the nerves and ligaments surrounding the ankle, leading to a decline in strength and overall health of the leg.
Causes of Ankle Dislocation
Some of the common causes of ankle dislocation include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Sports injury
- Inward or outward rolling of the ankle
- Severe falls
- Direct fall on the foot
Symptoms of Ankle Dislocation
The signs and symptoms of ankle dislocation include:
- Severe pain
- Ankle swelling and bruising
- Stiffness and weakness
- Limitations in the movement of the ankle
Your doctor will review your symptoms and medical history and perform a thorough physical examination to check for a range of motion and any damage to the ligaments, blood flow, and stability. The following diagnostic tests may be performed for further evaluation of the injured ankle.
- X-rays: During this study, high electromagnetic energy beams are used to produce images of the bones.
- CT scan: Special x-rays are used to produce images of any damage in the ankle.
Treatment for Ankle Dislocation
You will be instructed to apply an ice pack and keep your ankle in an elevated position to reduce swelling. Depending on your condition, your doctor will place the affected leg in a therapeutic brace to keep it stable and may prescribe medications to reduce pain and swelling. You may need surgery to repair any damaged ligaments, blood vessels, nerves, or any adjacent structures of the ankle.