About the disease
Foot phlegmon is a disease, characterized by acute inflammation in the leg. The inflammation is very often purulent meaning that it contains pus. Foot phlegmon tends to spread quickly to cellular spaces of the leg. Also, the purulent process can develop in the muscles and in some cases in tendons, that`s why it is so important to stop the inflammatory process on time and to prevent necrosis, death of tissue. Although foot phlegmon most commonly starts in the muscles or other subcutaneous areas, it can also start to develop from the thighs or buttocks. In extremely rare cases this inflammation may start in the abdomen and progress rapidly down to the legs. There are different factors, which can cause foot phlegmon. The most common one of them is previous infection, which spreads to soft tissue. Infections, which can spread to soft tissues, include staphylococcus and, more rarely, streptococcus. Certain microbes can also damage the soft tissue of the leg and begin the purulent process in case of trauma to the leg, when the skin became exposed to these microbes. Bacteria can enter the skin through the blood or through the mucous membranes, that`s why it is so important to sanitize any traumas with hydrogen peroxide or simply with alcohol to prevent development of any infection. Certain chemicals, such as kerosene or gasoline, which entered the skin as a result of mechanical trauma, can contribute to development of foot phlegmon in the longer run.
- Acute pain in the leg
- High fever (sometimes reaching 40 degrees C)
- Shine skin
- Inability to work properly or move the affected part of the leg
- During a general examination a doctor will examine the leg of a patient for the signs of inflammation. If the process is purulent, there can be areas which ooze the pus. Also, many pus bubbles can be indicators of beginning of tissue necrosis. Then, this is a medical emergency and a person has to be hospitalized immediately. Also, extremely high fever is another indicator of foot phlegmon.
- A blood test is used to determine which infection caused development of foot phlegmon and how much it spreaded to the leg. Previous traumas are also taken into account.
- Conservative treatment may be used in mild cases of foot phlegmon and are aimed to fighting the infection by antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Surgical treatment is used to drain the purulent area as much as possible and not to damage any nerves on the way. Prevention of further spreading of pus is essential. Also, foot phlegmon is washed and sanitized with antibiotic and antiseptic solutions.
Amputation is used in cases when necrosis of the tissue began and there is a big risk that the inflammation will spread to all other parts of the body. In order not to put the life of a patient into danger, the amputation may need to be performed. This measure is need only in advanced and severe cases, which have not been treated at once, that`s why it is so important to seek medical help at once after the symptoms of foot phlegmon appeared.