Cellulitis on the Leg: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options

cellulitis on leg: causes, symptoms, treatment options and more useful information

Many people are curious about leg cellulitis. First of all, cellulitis is a bacterial skin infection that can affect any area of the skin.

Leg cellulitis, in particular, may involve the entirety of the leg. The primary cause is the Staph and Strep bacteria.

The condition is usually not serious. However, without prompt treatment, it can quickly lead to serious complications.

This article will describe the main causes and symptoms of cellulitis of the leg. Moreover, it will discuss treatment options and provide other useful information.


Common Causes

Cellulitis on Leg: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment Options and More Useful Information
The common causes of leg cellulitis are breaks in the skin as a result of a skin condition or an injury. All skin injuries require prompt treatment.

It is essential to follow the proper wound care protocol. The elderly and obese are more likely to have cellulitis.

Furthermore, the condition is more prevalent in diabetic patients. Also, any conditions that weaken the immune system will increase the risks of presenting cellulitis.


General Symptoms

Cellulitis of the leg generally manifests as swelling and redness in the leg. The affected area can be itchy, and a rash may be associated.

All of these symptoms require swift medical attention. An infection can quickly progress. A red patch on the leg can quickly grow within 24 hours.

Without prompt treatment, complications may develop rapidly. Cellulitis of the leg can also spread to the lymph glands of the groin causing swelling in this area. This will allow the infection to spread more quickly.


Treatment Options

lower leg cellulitis
The most common treatment for leg cellulitis is a round of antibiotics. A medical professional can confirm the presence of bacteria to diagnose the condition. They will usually ask some general questions, in regards to your medical history.

Based on the symptoms and your medical history, the doctor may conclude to the presence of cellulitis. However, he/she may also take a blood sample to confirm the diagnosis. The doctor will then be able to define the treatment plan.

In the vast majority of cases the condition will require oral antibiotics. A standard treatment will be taken for 7-10 days. Completing the full treatment is essential.

Elevating the leg while lying in bed or sitting, is a very useful measure as it will help reduce both the swelling and the pain. Appropriate fluid intake will also bring significant support to the healing process.

Treatment usually clears up the infection. However, a follow-up appointment is recommended to make sure that the infection has been eradicated.


Preventive Measures

There are some steps that you can take to reduce the risks of contracting leg cellulitis.

Following basic hygiene is crucial. Basic hygiene guidelines should be observed every day. This includes washing hands with soap.

It also includes keeping your legs clean. Any skin irritant can increase the chances of cellulitis.

Managing prior skin conditions is also important to reduce the chances of cellulitis.

Credit image: GetStencil.com

Last article update: 9/11/2019

Medically reviewed by Dr. Thouria Bensaoula on Sept 06, 2019.