Pus in the foot is caused by a bacterial infection. An ingrown toenail, for example, can lead to a bacterial infection and cause pain, tenderness, and swelling of the tissue around the toenail. In addition, redness, and an increase in temperature over the affected area can result from an ingrown toenail. Other than causing local symptoms, an ingrown toenail that produces pus can cause symptoms of a body-wide infection, including fever and chills, headache, nausea, and body aches.
Any wound in the foot that becomes infected can produce pus. Shoes that are too tight, diabetes, and even poor circulation can cause foot ulcers resulting that leak pus. To determine what is causing the infection, A healthcare provider may take a sample of the pus and send it out to a lab for evaluation. This sampling is referred to as a culture and sensitivity test, and it reveals not only which type of bacterial organism is present in the pus, but it can also reveal which antibiotics are likely to kill it.
Pus can appear as white, yellow, or dark green, and sometimes, it has a pink or bloody appearance. In addition, it may have a bad odor and a thick consistency. Those who have a pus-containing wound, or an abscess, should never attempt to lance it to release the pus. This can cause a severe infection and even lead to a condition known a septicemia, which is also known as blood poisoning.
Treatment for an infection in the foot includes oral antibiotics, topical antibiotics, or both. When oral antibiotics are prescribed, it is important for the patient to complete the whole prescription, because stopping treatment before the recommended course has been completed might allow the infection to return. Side effects of oral antibiotics can be so intense that they cause patients to abandon their treatment. These side effects might include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If side effects occur, a medical professional can recommend ways to relieve them.
Other treatments for a foot infection include soaking the foot in warm water every few hours to reduce pain and inflammation and to draw out the pus. In addition, keeping the wound covered with a sterile dressing may prevent bacteria from getting into it. Since a foot infection with pus can be quite painful, an over-the-counter pain reliever can be taken to reduce symptoms.