Leg abscess

An abscess is an accumulation of pus, which is often located directly under the skin. It can occur on all parts of the body, but is mainly formed at the hair roots, sebaceous or sweat glands. Particularly susceptible to this are places where there is a high production of sweat in combination with constant friction. The purulent abscess is primarily isolated and does not pose a particular risk of systemic disease; if the abscess is expressed or split unprofessionally, the pathogens may spread to the surrounding tissue and further infections may occur. Especially if it enters the bloodstream, this can lead to a systemic infection and thus a potentially life-threatening clinical picture.


Pus consists of dead cells of the body and bacteria. In most cases the bacteria are staphylococci (Staphylococcus aureus). In the case of an abscess, the accumulation of pus in the tissue is separated from the surrounding tissue by a thin membrane and thus usually cannot spread. Since pus consists of bacteria, pus is contagious. In the case of an open abscess, pus should be spread by washing and disinfecting the hands a lot and covering the wound.

Causes of an abscess on the leg

An abscess on the leg can be caused by various factors. In most cases, however, they are caused by bacteria. Some bacteria are constantly on our skin, they are part of the normal skin flora of humans.

However, due to various circumstances, it can happen that the bacteria spread from the skin to deeper tissues and cause an abscess there. This happens through small wounds that often go unnoticed. For example through injections, which are carried out without sufficient disinfection of the skin, or after operations, such abscesses can occur.

Even wounds that have arisen in everyday life, are not or not sufficiently disinfected, and get into the dirt, can lead to an immigration of bacteria and promote an abscess. People with a weak immune system, with diabetes mellitus and with skin injuries or rashes are particularly susceptible to the development of an abscess. Tight clothing that is constantly rubbing can also cause a wound that leads to an abscess.

This is especially the case in men who have a lot of hair on their legs and where trousers cause sensitive skin due to a lot of friction. But an abscess can also develop independently of the bacteria on the skin. This is the case with tuberculosis, for example: here there is usually a suppurative focus in the lungs, which can spread to other parts of the body when this closed area is opened. This topic might also be of interest to you: Abscess on the inner thigh

Symptoms of a leg abscess

With a typical skin abscess on the leg, the first thing you notice is the redness, swelling and warming of the affected area. This area is also very sensitive to pressure. As it progresses, the accumulation of pus under the skin increases and can be recognized as such.

The accumulation of pus is usually much larger than that of a normal pimple. In some cases, fever and chills may occur. By then the bacteria have often already spread in the body.