Leg Infections

Did you know…… Here at Florida Foot Specialist we treat the following.

Leg Infections:

An infection of the leg is most often cellulitis. Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin and tissues beneath the skin. Unlike impetigo, which is a very superficial skin infection, cellulitis is an infection that also involves the skin’s deeper layers: the dermis and subcutaneous tissue.

The sources of cellulitis are too numerous to list completely. Some very common sources are spider/insect bites, abrasions, foreign bodies. Walking with bare feet or through wooded areas without protective clothing can be a source of bacteria entering the tissues and causing cellulitis.

The main bacteria responsible for cellulitis are Streptococcus and Staphylococcus (“staph”), the same bacteria that can cause impetigo. MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staph aureus) can also cause cellulitis. Sometimes, other bacteria (for example, Hemophilus influenzae, Pneumococcus, and Clostridium species) may cause cellulitis as well.

Cellulitis is fairly common and affects people of all races and ages. Men and women appear to be equally affected. Although cellulitis can occur in people of any age, it is most common in middle-aged and elderly people. People with diabetes and other diseases that cause decreased immune systems are more susceptible to cellulitis.

Cellulitis may occur anywhere on the body, but the lower leg is the most common site of the infection (particularly in the area of the tibia or shinbone and in the foot.)

Cellulitis usually begins as a small area of tenderness, swelling, and redness that spreads to adjacent skin. As this red area begins to enlarge, the affected person may develop a fever, sometimes with chills, sweats, swollen and tender lymph nodes.

The signs of cellulitis include redness, warmth, swelling, tenderness, and pain in the involved tissues. Any skin wound or ulcer that exhibits these signs may be developing cellulitis. Other forms of noninfected inflammation may mimic cellulitis. People with poor leg circulation, for instance, often develop scaly redness on the shins and ankles; this is called “stasis dermatitis” and is often mistaken for cellulitis.

If you think you may have any of the signs or symptoms of cellulitis should be seen as soon as possible. Cellulitis can spread quickly and cause significant damage. It needs to be treated quickly and aggressively.