Sore on middle toe won't heal

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I have had a problem with my toes for sometime now. It gets really itchy between the toes to the point that I scratch them until they bleed. I visited a doctor and he gave me a powder to apply and while this illeviates the problem for a while it doesnt totally irradicate it

The other day I was scratching the one toe and it became quite raw. Since then the sore that has developed will not heal. This has been for about a month now. 

My problem is during the day at work I wear socks and closed shoes and thus can't leave my foot open to "breathe". While at home I walk around bare foot. 

The cycle which has been happening for the past few weeks is that a scab will begin to form but then just wash away after I bath/shower. I have tried putting a plaster on it but this seems to make it worse. During the day it burns and makes walking difficult. It is also affecting my sporting life as I play soccer once a week and kicking the ball sends me through the roof as it is very sensitive to any knock

Please advise how I am can heal the sore on my toe. Should I not bath for a couple days (bit gross) ? leave the plaster on or off? 

I suppose I should go see the padaestrist again not just for the sore but for the cause of the itchy toes

All comments welcome. Thanks

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello Mark

    Sorry, to read about your problem.

    I would go back to your G.P. for further advise. If the doctor doesn't know what is causing the problem I'd request to see a Dermatologist who specialises in skin disorders. When wounds won't heal as they should, it may be due to some other reasons e.g. diabetes, infection? I say this because unfortunately, people with diabetes can have a problem with wound healing.

    It sounds as if your feet may be sweating whilst wearing enclosed shoes, so I'd suggest placing soft small pieces of dry gauze between the affected toes, so that it will assist in keeping the area's dry & it will stop the two toes rubbing each other which can cause friction. Shoes should be well fitted too because if they are to tight or restrictive in anyway this can also cause a problem.

    You mention you tend to walk around bare footed at home, I'd suggest if your doing this that you do cover the affected area's because you could introduce infection into the open wound.

    Lastly, the last thing you should be doing is to scratch the itchy areas until they bleed (I know this is difficult). When you need to scratch try scratching the area with your knuckles or with a piece of gauze held over your finger rather then using your nails because this may be asking for trouble.

    I wish you the best of luck with your problem.


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    • Posted


      Thank you for the reply

      So I landed up going to the Emegency Room at the Hospital on Friday night, the wound had become all pussy and inflamed

      The doctor stuck me on a drip with some Augmentum antibiotics and then took some blood to run some tests

      4 hours later (2am Saturday Morning) he came back saving that it is not diabities or some other joint disease that he mentioned so it most likley just an infection and he prescribed me some Augmentum tablets to take. Said if it doesnt show signs of improvement by Wednesday to come back and see him

      My only concern is he said I must sock the foot in warm salt water and then to keep in covered in gauze and bandage. But everytime I take off the bandage and gauze to soak the toe the blood etc is stuck to the gauze and it pulls off whatever scab is forming 

      I am thinking of leaving the toe totally open today as I am at home having been booked off work

      I do think the original cause of my itchiness is perhaps atheletes foot and I will see a podiatrist once this wound has healed

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  • Posted

    Hello Mark

    It sounds as if you've been having a rough time of it but at least your now on antibiotics so hopefully things will improve soon. 

    Soaking your foot in salt water is just an old way of cleansing wounds and is still used today, so it shouldn't cause a problem. It's just a saline mixture of salt & water as you'll realise, its used to cleanse wounds in hospitals anyway. Just make sure the bowl is thoroughly cleansed before putting your salt mixture & luke warm water in it.

    You mention when you try to get the old dressing off that its stuck, just take the outer dressing off & leave the gauze thats stuck on & immerse your foot in the water, let it soak for a few minutes. It will soon come off, just gently remove it when its ready, avoid forcing it as this will avoid pulling off any new skin growth. I don't know how many times a day your changing your dressing? Dressings normally only need to be changed if necessary e.g. soiled. Not usually several times a day etc. Did the hospital advise you re: this? If in doubt contact your G.P. surgery who will usually have a 'practice nurse' who should'nt mind having a look at it and advising you further.

    I hope this as been a little helpful?




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    • Posted

      Hello. Yes been soaking the gauze in the water till most of it is loose to just come off.

      I change the gauze once a day normally in the evening

      I took the bandaging off last night as my toe was burning terribly sore and once the bandaging was off at just the gauze left it stopped. Odd

      I put batroban cream on the sore this morning and have left it open for now in the hope it will dry out and form a scab. Not sure if this is the right thing to do though

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    • Posted

      Hello Mark

      The burning your feeling is probably just to do with the nerves which are aggrevated. Make sure the bandage is secure but not too tight as this can have an affect also. I'm not saying yours is too tight but if you got relief after removing your bandage it shows it maybe just a little tighter than it likes. Its often said the smallest of wounds e.g. a paper cut can feel worse than a deep penetrated wound. 

      To promote wound healing, it needs warmth, moisture & an healthy diet its not recommended to keep changing dressings unnecessarily though because it does affect the process of the healing. Usually, as I mentioned if the dressings don't look soiled perhaps leave it and change it the following day. 

      Bacroban is one of the better cream/ointments used so just give it time. 


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  • Posted

    Hello Mark

    I just wanted to say that I have had almost exactly the same problem that you are describing. Though maybe I have had it a little longer as I have already tried the antiabotics. About 4 months ago, I had gone to the doctor and got a general antibiotic which did reduce the symptoms but did not clear the problem.

    About two months ago I got a new job which mean travelling for 4 hrs every day and in the winter that means with the heating on and boots on. I got a blister from my snowboots and because it hurt popped it with a clean needle. 

    What happened next was maybe for everyone else a forgone conclusion but I spent about 12 hrs feeling increasing nauseous and then 12 hours in a very high fever. Now I am on a tougher antibiotics cure to make sure that the infection that caused the fevet is first dealt with.

    This is all a long-winded way to say that my dr and I learned the hard way not to try and tackle this earlier and sort of live with it if its not too inconvenient because it flared up rather nastily for me.

    So the advice that says go to a specialist and do not stop until its fixed, is the best one. Sorry I could not shed any more light on the cause, I am looking for that myself.

    Good luck


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    • Posted

      Hi Julia,

      Saw this post and I have the same symptoms. Have you managed to resolve this problem. Had this problem 2 weeks agao and went on antibiotics which cleared the problem. But it re-appeared this week at the same spot...itchy and small blister appearing. Please advise since doctor has prescribed another course of antibiotics.... thanks...Megan

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