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The response to the question below was authored by Marc Mitnick DPM

severe burning pain real swollen and red hammertoe not like usual

by matt
(St Louis Missouri)

cellulitis second toe

cellulitis second toe

I was diagnosed with hammertoe 2 years ago seen the doctor about 5 times, 5 co-pays, is getting ridiculous, gave me an MRI gave me antibiotics told me they can't do nothing about it so now I've lost my job. I was laid off month ago and it always swells up all the time, it's red and I have a little hole in it and won't heal and for some reason today is worse than other really swollen and it hurts real bad iced it 3 times tonite


RESPONSE

Hi Matt,
There are too many questions that I have for you, regarding your toe and unfortunately you have supplied me with too little information.

Simply put, when someone walks into my office with a red swollen toe, with a hole in it, the first thing I think of is infection. If that is the case then the advice the doctor gave you is ridiculous. Infections can be cured one way or the other.

In very simple terms, you cannot walk around with an infection. Rarely do infections go away on their own.

I wish I knew more about you such as are you a smoker, are you diabetic, what kind of shoes do you wear on a daily basis, are you overweight? Were you treated by a family doctor or a podiatrist?

I would have also liked to know when you had your MRI and what were the results.

Now to further complicate matters, if the first time you toe was red and swollen and if there was no hole in the toe, there is a distinct possibility that you were having a gout attack.

So the next question is, did they ever do blood work to differentiate the possibility of gout from an infection? Again, you did not mention this.

The only reason I bothered to answer this question from you, in spite of the fact that I do not have enough information, is to warn you that you cannot just walk around with a chronic infection.

I do notice that you live in the St. Louis area so my best advice to you would be to seek care at a wound care center at one of your local hospitals. Most major hospitals, at least here in NJ, have a wound care center associated with it.

As the name implies, these centers specialize in wounds, particularly wounds that will not close. They aggressively treat the wound itself and they also deal with any underlying causes that are preventing this wound from healing.

Seek one out and get your problem under control.

Marc Mitnick DPM
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Mayo Clinic

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Columbia University Department of Rehabilitation

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