Infected toes can be a common problem especially in patients who are suffering from long term fungal infections as well as in patients who are diabetic. An infection in the toe could result from many different insults and these may vary from a mild scratch to a deep wound caused by a penetrating injury. In any instance, an organism, which was either lying on the surface of the skin or else which was introduced from outside would creep in and thus result in an infection.
Following an infection, the resulting immune chemical changes will result in an inflammatory reaction and the usual process would be for the blood supply in the region to increase unless there is a wound that had resulted in damage to the blood vessels. Initially the area would become reddened and with increased flow of blood, a congestion of the blood vessels will take place. Thus, both the increased pressure as well as due to the chemical mediators, fluid from the vessels will leak in to the surrounding tissues which will precipitate a swelling.
Therefore, till the infection resolves and till the inflammatory mediators are no more, the fluid leak and thus the swelling is likely to remain. In order to relieve such swelling, following measures would be useful as well as effective.
*Take treatment for the underlying cause, such as antibiotics for bacterial infection, antifungal treatment for the infections precipitated by fungi.
*Wash and clean the infected toe at least daily and keep the toe area clean and dry.
*Do not apply tight bandages as it may prevent adequate ventilation to the wound and sometimes might cut off the blood supply to the area in excessive amounts.
*Apply ice packs as it can have a soothing effect as well as a constrictor effect towards the blood vessels. Thus, it would be possible to reduce the inflammatory reaction in the region along with the congestion within the blood vessels, both of which would be contributing to the swelling of the toe.
*Keep the toe region elevated as much as possible. This would relieve the congestion as the blood will flow back due to the gravitational effect and for this to be maximally effective, the toe needs to be elevated to a level which is above the patients’ heart level.
*Do not hang your legs down when sitting and as much as possible try to support the affected leg by keeping it in a supporting surface.
If these measures fail to tackle the swelling related to an infected toe, you need to seek assistance from a doctor, preferably a surgeon who will assess the need to deride the wound and make additional treatment changes.