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The response to the question below was authored by Marc Mitnick DPM
Cellulitis on toes
I am a 28 yr old female, 7 1/2 mo. pregnant. A few months ago I began to have some redness with very mild itching/burning on the toes of both feet, but it wasn't bothersome so I didn't do anything about it. About 2 weeks ago, my toes had become swollen and tender with noticeable itching, so I started using athlete's foot cream, assuming a fungal infection. The condition seemed to worsen, with my left 1st (big), 2nd, and 3rd toes increasingly tender and my right 2nd and 4th toes darkening to a lovely shade of purple. I noticed 2 circular marks that resemble flat blisters, on one toe of each foot. I saw our family practitioner yesterday, he assumed fungal infection-turned-cellulitis and gave me a prescription for Keflex. He said if the antibiotics don't clear it up, he'll send me to a podiatrist. Wondered if you could tell me what else it might be, and what else I should do besides the antibiotics (creams or not, keep feet covered/uncovered, etc)?
By just looking at the picture you uploaded and based on the itching and burning you describe it might be athletes foot. It appears as if some of the blisters could be drained, if so you would notice a gooey kind of liquid come out; that would be consistent with athletes foot.
I see you live in Colorado and therefore can assume it has been cold as of late. I am wondering if you have a similar discoloration at the end of the toes just beneath the nails. (I cannot tell from the picture) If that is the case you would also have to entertain superficial frostbite as the problem. Typically, when exposed to cold, the end to the toes will become bluish-red, there will be burning but generally not itching.
If the toes do not respond to the topical antifungal and oral Keflex then you might want to think along the lines of superficial frostbite. I think a visit to a podiatrist would be appropriate to get a definitive diagnosis.
I hope this helps.
Marc Mitnick DPM
Johns Hopkins Medicine
University of Rochester Medical Center
American Academy of Pediatrics
Penn State Medical Center
National Institutes of Health
Columbia University Department of Rehabilitation
Stanford Health Care
Illinois Bone and Joint Institute
Mount Sinai Hospital
Institute for Chronic Pain
University of Florida Health
American Family Physician
University of Maryland Medical Center