Foot infections, especially in the setting of neuropathy and diabetes mellitus, are unfortunately a common malady seen by Dr. Nodelman as a podiatrist in Alexandria, Virginia. Dr. Nodelman sees patients at his practice, located off the 495 Beltway in Alexandria, Virginia and also at the Mount Vernon Wound Healing Center. He also holds privileges at Northern Virginia hospitals including Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, Inova Alexandria Hospital and Inova Mount Vernon Hospital.
When should one suspect infection? Typically the symptoms that are seen include redness, swelling, increased pain (sometimes this is not seen in the setting of nerve damage/neuropathy), and warmth. Sometimes other characteristics can be seen that represent an infection including changes in the wound appearance, malodor, and increased drainage. If any of these symptoms are been experienced, it is absolutely imperative that a thorough evaluation is performed by your podiatrist.
Some risk factors that increase the likelihood of infection include presence of a wound for more than 30 days, peripheral vascular disease, neuropathy, kidney disease, trauma (like a penetrating nail injury) and a history of walking barefoot (do not do this if you are diabetic!).
If you suspect an infection, your podiatrist will need to determine how it is best treated – whether this is on an outpatient basis (oral antibiotics), or in the hospital with IV antibiotics. Typically, if there is a collection of pus (called an abscess), this needs to be drained to allow the infection to resolve. Sometimes this can be performed in the office, but infections that are worse and/or deeper typically need to be addressed in the formal operating room environment at the hospital.
In conclusion, if you suspect you are experiencing a foot infection, you need to be seen by a podiatrist immediately. Call Dr. Nodelman for an immediate consultation.