Have you ever had a small cut on your bruise (particularly on the lower leg) that quickly became swollen, red and painful?

A leg affected by cellulitis

Credit: NPS

Cellulitis is an acute inflammatory condition of the dermis and subcutaneous tissue usually found complicating a wound, ulcer or dermatosis. Spreading and pyogenic (fever causing) in nature, it is characterized by localized pain, erythema (redness), swelling and heat.

Treatment includes a range of different antibiotics due to different potential bacterial causes, and these may need to be given intravenously. Usual treatment for swelling including ice, elevation and compression will also help to reduce symptoms.

Above all else, DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE this condition. It can spread very quickly, can rapidly turn nasty and cause tissue death requiring surgery, or potentially amputation of the limb if left too long. GO TO YOUR DOCTOR or hospital if you suspect you may have this condition.