Berkeley Parents Network >
Advice about Health >
My son (aged 12) has a toe that has been infected for several
months now. The infection seems to center on the nail of his
big toe, but the whole toe is red. The doctor prescribed
antibiotics, which so far we have avoided, and also suggested
removing the toenail.
I've tried tea tree oil, which usually works magic, but in this
case it doesn't seem to be working.
Does anyone have any ideas for what may help?
Apparently you're very concerned about your son's taking antibiotics?
worth a try before toe surgery. My son had this condition twice. He
every day, or at least that was our intention -- it's hard to get a
kid to sit for
long with his foot in hot water. We gave up with that, and he had toe
both times, and the infection cleared right up once the toe could
nail does grow back. Good luck.
I recommend a good podiatrist for your son. My 15 yr. old son
has had 2 troublesome toenails and the pediatrician also
prescribed useless antibiotics (which is over-use and we try to
avoid). We then found a great Podiatrist who fixed him in
minutes with minor removal of part of the nail, and then follow-
up soaking in hot water and salt. Both toes, all better.
Toenails growing back normally. Have no idea why this happened.
Although, I'm told that if it happens in one big toe, chances
are high it will occur in the other. so watch out!
While I respect your decision to eschew antibiotics, I would
caution you against letting a toe infection linger. Infections
can spread quickly and cause many other problems. I have had a
slew of toe infections lately. One was so severe I could only
walk in open toed shoes for weeks. Even with antibiotics it took
a while for everything to clear up. I recommend you go for it.
And of course also trying to isolate the source of the
infection, which sounds quite elusive in your case. Soaking in
epsom salts is supposed to be a benefit, but I found it didn't
do too much for mine. However, you could try that route as well.
In your son's case, I'd recommend several times a day. Good
I hope you are not saying that you have let your son's toe go
infected for several months, and not even tried one course of
the antibiotics? I do not believe in the overuse of
antibiotics, but after a couple of weeks, if the alternative
treatments do not work, you are putting your son and his immune
system at great risk by not treating the infection. An
infection in the toe might not seem too risky, however, left
unchecked, the infection could spread to his blood, and then to
his heart. This is very serious and deadly. Also, if his
immune system is ''distracted'' by fighting off a chronic
infection in his toe, this leaves the potential for
other ''opportunistic infections'' to develop, unchecked, other
places in his body. It is not the use of antibiotics, but the
overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics that has caused
the problems with antibiotics. Please talk with your
pediatrician about this.
You wrote: ''The doctor prescribed antibiotics, which so far we
have avoided, and also suggested removing the toenail.
.. Does anyone have any ideas for what may help?''
Yes. Take the antibiotics. If it's a bacterial infection, that's
really all that's going to help. Tea tree oil can help with nail
fungus, but it can't get to an infection under the nail.
I am about to lose my toenail to a similar infection, and
probably wouldn't be in this position if I'd started antibiotics
earlier. It's no small deal to lose a toenail. It can grow back
in strangely, and you can then be prone to ingrowns. I wish my
doc had prescribed antibiotics earler.
there goes sandal season
My teenage son had a persistent infected toenail which we treated
with topical antibiotics for several months but still it was
bright red and swollen. I think much of the problem was that
his feet were encased all day in big plastic track shoes, he didn't
bathe often enough, he picked at it and irritated it, and we both
forget to clean it and keep neosporin on it. At any rate it got bad
enough that it hurt to walk on. So we went to a podiatrist, who
removed the toenail and gave him a bunch of antobiotics, at which
point it started getting better finally. This hurt a LOT according to my poor
hyper-sensitive son (it was the
numbing shot that actually hurt the most though.)
this page was last updated: Oct 19, 2005
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network