What are the common causes of pus in a toe?

Pus in a toe is caused by an infection. Although viral infections can cause symptoms of pain, redness, and swelling, they do not cause pus to form. A bacterial infection or organism is responsible for pus in a toe and can be caused by an infected ingrown nail or injury to the toe. Pus is usually accompanied by extreme tenderness, warmth over the affected area, and swelling. When these symptoms occur, a health care provider should be seen to evaluate and treat the infection.

In general, when pus develops in a toe, the health care provider will recommend an antibiotic ointment or an oral antibiotic. In certain cases, both types of antibiotics may be recommended. In addition to antibiotic therapy, the health care provider may choose to lance the area to remove pus and clean the wound. Puncturing an infected finger to remove pus is not recommended outside of a health care setting, as doing so may increase the risk of tissue damage and exacerbate existing infection. After the health care provider has cleaned the wound, antibiotic ointment is usually applied, followed by a sterile bandage or bandage.

If red streaks appear near the infection, it could indicate the presence of blood poisoning. This is a medical emergency that needs to be evaluated quickly to avoid a condition known as sepsis. This is a life-threatening condition that could cause dangerously low blood pressure, major organ damage, and cardiac arrest.

An untreated infection characterized by pus in a toe can cause symptoms of fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and muscle pain. These may indicate that the infection has progressed from a local infection to one that is systemic in nature. In rare cases, hospitalization may be necessary for intravenous antibiotics.

Mobility can also be affected when there is pus in a toe. Shoes can aggravate the condition and make walking difficult. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever can help with pain and swelling, and can also relieve certain symptoms of a systemic infection such as fever, muscle pain, and headache. Soaking your foot in warm water several times a day can also relieve pain and swelling and promote healing. Sometimes the health care provider may recommend a special boot or shoe to wear during the recovery period to avoid friction irritation caused by wearing shoes.

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