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Old 02-08-2007, 11:18 AM   #1
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Bacterial toenail infection

This all started two weeks ago today. I removed an ingrown toenail on my right toe. The nail was ingrown at the root, so I had to lift it up to trim it. I soaked before I did this and after. Normally, if infection occurs, it goes away in a few days with peroxide/alcohol soaks. This infection did not. It grew very worse, and exactly a week later, I went to the local urgent care that takes my insurance. (I am at college and my primary care physician is three hours away). I knew something was very wrong because my toe became numb, and I could no longer feel the pain, yet it was still very infected. The doctor drew a line on my toe where the infection met my healthy skin (almost halfway up my toe towards my foot) and told me if it went past that line I'd have to come back to the hospital for intraveneous antibiotics and to not be embarrassed because if it went that far I could lose my toe. He prescribed my Keflex 500mg 4x a day for 10 days and warm epsom soaks.

I have been on the medicine/soaks for exactly a week, and in the first few days, I noticed significant improvements. However, in the past couple of days, I have noticed no improvements. The pain has come back, but is this normal? (My foot got to a point where it was numb from the infection). The redness/inflammation of the infection has not receded from where it was originally, and I am not sure if I should be concerned. The redness has greatly reduced, however. I do not have any noticable pus or drainage, but I barely had any when the infection was at its worst. (I think this is because it was so deep). I have today and three more days following of medicine. I took ibprofen for the pain yesterday and also today.

Should I wait to finish my medicine or go back to urgent care now? It feels infected to me, if that makes any sense. It feels tingly and sore.

Last edited by troubadour; 02-08-2007 at 11:25 AM.

 
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Old 02-08-2007, 06:13 PM   #2
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Re: Bacterial toenail infection

If it is still sore and swollen, then you should go back to the doctor. If the infection was deep, it may take another round of Keflex.

 
Old 02-09-2007, 04:43 PM   #3
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Re: Bacterial toenail infection

A yeast (candida) infection is usually aquired in the nails through a cut, tear or break to the seal surrounding the nail unit. A yeast infection will NOT result in your symptoms, but will only make the nail plate separate from the nail bed. It is MUCH easier to kill than regular fungus since it is caused by a different fungal 'spore'. Yeast infection is characterized by nail plate separation and the nail plate will look very white where it has separated, but will have no apparent debris in the area of separation. Treatment is usually with Naftin ointment.

Fungus is characterized by a yellowish discoloration, nail plate thickening, nail plate separation and apparent debris in the area of separation. Treatment can take up to a full year since the spores live in both the nail bed and the nail plate. The best treatment is Lamasil, but second options include many over-the-counter remedies and home treatments.

A bacterial infection, which is what you have, is best treated with oral antibiotics. If the skin and nail are still red and sore, you can try applying peroxide to help kill any surface bacteria. After you wash away any 'foamy' peroxide, you can apply a topical antibiotic.

I still recommend a second trip to your physician.

Last edited by moderator2; 02-09-2007 at 05:13 PM.

 
Old 02-10-2007, 04:08 PM   #4
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Re: Bacterial toenail infection

Thank you for your responses.

Since I posted this, my toe stopped hurting and the redness reduced even more. However, last night I went out dancing and it is red again today and slightly sore when touched. It does much better when I am not wearing shoes because my big toe does not press against my other toe.

I am going to soak it and use peroxide like you suggested. I was wondering if alcohol helps an infection at all.

I have seven more pills to take, and I am going to see how it is doing after I completely finish my pills before I go to the doctor. If I notice something really alarming, I will go before.

The doctor scared me pretty badly, and I do not want the infection to go to my bone, nor do I want to lose my toe. I imagine since I am not experiencing a fever or anything of that nature that I am not in jeopardy of that. Is this correct? I would hope the antibiotic would keep something like that from happening, but I am still somewhat paranoid.

 
Old 02-11-2007, 07:20 AM   #5
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Re: Bacterial toenail infection

The purpose of alcohol is to remove any excess moisture. When alcohol is refined, the moisture (water) is removed. When it is applied to the skin, it seeks to replace what was removed from it during refining; which means that it will absorb any excess moisture and then evaporate.

Peroxide is the best option where infection is present. It cannot get deep within the skin as it was desogned to kill surface bacteria; that's why you need to take oral antibiotics.

Dancing? I cannot imagine! Not with a sore toe.

Last edited by Marti; 02-11-2007 at 07:20 AM.

 
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