"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Cellulite: How long does it take to heal on the legs?

Cellulitis is an infection of the deeper layers of the skin. It develops when bacteria enter through a cut, bite or wound – including small breaks in cracked, dry skin. Common bacteria that survive the skin, Staphylococcus or Streptococcus, are common criminals. Although cellulitis can occur anywhere on the body, probably the most common location is the lower leg.

What are the symptoms of cellulitis?

The body's natural immune response to this bacterial attack triggers a painful rash that appears red on light skin and deep purple on darker skin. Swelling and heat may additionally be felt within the affected area.

How is cellulitis treated?

The usual treatment is five to 10 days of antibiotic tablets. More severe cases may require intravenous antibiotics.

How quickly can antibiotics help resolve cellulitis?

After starting antibiotic treatment, people normally feel higher inside just a few days. However, the realm should be swollen, hot and painful after 10 days.

Does this mean that the antibiotic treatment was ineffective? Not necessarily, in keeping with A recent study of people with lower leg cellulitis who described the natural history of the stages of healing after antibiotics.

“There are two parts to the healing process, which is why full recovery takes longer than you think,” says Dr. Mustaghimi.

First, antibiotics and your white blood cells work together to kill bacteria. But it might take a while in your body's immune response to the bacteria to shut down. As a result, this second phase of the healing process may involve some residual symptoms, he explains.

What did the study find?

The study involved 247 individuals with mild to moderate cellulitis of the lower leg who received antibiotics for seven to 10 days. By Day 10:

  • Their swelling was reduced by 50 percent, and the dimensions of the affected area shrank by about 55 percent.
  • A blood marker of inflammation, C-reactive protein, fell during treatment and returned to close normal in all participants.
  • Still, greater than half of those affected continued to report leg pain, with 14% rating their pain at 5 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10.

Dr. Mustaghimi says this pattern of pain will not be unusual, especially with leg infections. As people get well from leg cellulitis, they are sometimes advised to raise the leg, which helps reduce swelling. (Putting a warm, damp washcloth over the realm may additionally help.)

But after they feel higher and begin walking more, the fluid goes back into the legs. So it's not surprising that the realm may feel a little bit swollen and uncomfortable once they're back on their feet.

Who is most in danger for cellulitis?

Remember, cellulitis normally occurs when bacteria normally present on our skin manage to breach this barrier to enter the body.

Some individuals who develop cellulitis haven't any obvious injury or skin damage to elucidate the infection, which might occur in people who find themselves generally healthy. However, individuals with certain health problems are more vulnerable to cellulitis. This includes people who find themselves obese or have diabetes, a weakened immune system, poor circulation, or chronic edema (swollen organs).

Additionally, skin conditions akin to eczema and athlete's foot may cause small cracks within the skin that make it easier for bacteria to get deeper into the skin, says Dr. Mustaghimi. Scratching the bug bite until it bleeds is one other possible point of entry for bacteria.

What happens if cellulitis will not be treated?

Untreated cellulitis could be very serious. The rash may spread, grow to be blistered, and grow to be increasingly painful. Nearby lymph nodes could also be tender and swollen, followed by fever and chills. If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

The bottom line

“It's important for people with leg cellulitis to understand that it may take a little longer after you finish your antibiotics for all your symptoms to completely resolve,” says Dr. Mustaghimi. You will probably begin to feel higher inside just a few days, but at all times finish all of the pills in your antibiotic prescription. However, having residual symptoms when you're done doesn't necessarily mean you would like one other course of antibiotics or a unique antibiotic, he says.