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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Suggest treatment for swelling and infection in the big toe

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3129 Questions

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Posted on Mon, 19 Sep 2016 in Skin Hair and Nails
Question: My big toe is swollen and infected. And I'm losing my toenail. I've tried soaking in various solutions (salts, peroxide, etc..).
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Need to go in to be treated - antibiotic, possible nail removal; con't heat

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome,

That is a very swollen toe. I think you are going to need an oral antibiotic.

In addition to the antibiotic, continue to soak the toe in very warm water (as hot as you can tolerate without burning the skin) as often as possible until this resolves.

The heat makes it hard for the bacteria to multiply as they have a narrow temperature range for their metabolism, which is close to body temperature. Also, the heat draws blood to the area, with white blood cells that will help clean up the infection.

I am not a big advocate of antibiotics in this age of developing antibiotic resistance, when not absolutely needed, but I think it is warranted here.

So please go in to be seen - urgent care or other facility that can see you today. They may also remove the offending toe nail.

I would welcome a follow up note from you to let me know how you are doing.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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