Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

By Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center
January 11, 2018
Category: Foot Conditions

If you have a child that goes to school or goes to daycare, then you know very well that they can pick up any and every illness they come across. Often times, they come home and share it with you, their siblings, and everyone else they come in contact with. While it is natural to catch illnesses to help the immune system grow and fend off future viruses and bacteria, it can become a pain to you and your feet, literally. One of the most common childhood illnesses that occur in a daycare setting is known as Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a mild, contagious viral infection. It is categorized by sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet. Hand, foot and mouth disease is most commonly caused by a coxsackievirus. This virus is not the same as foot and mouth disease that occurs in hooved mammals.


  • Painful, red, blister-like lesions in the mouth
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • A red rash on the feet, hands and sometimes the buttocks.
  • Fever
  • Sore throat

Incubation Period

The first week of hand, foot and mouth disease is the time when your child is the most contagious. The virus can remain in the body for weeks after the signs and symptoms are gone. That means even weeks later other children can contract the painful virus. This also means that a child can carry the disease and continue to spread it to their family and friends after all symptoms have seemed to clear up.

After being in contact with the virus, it usually takes about three to six days for the virus to appear. A fever is typically the first sign of hand, foot and mouth disease, followed by a sore throat and sometimes a poor appetite.

One or two days after the fever begins, painful sores may develop in the front of the mouth or throat. A rash on the hands and feet can follow within one or two days. These rashes can be painful and look like red dots. They are smaller than chicken pox but not usually larger than the size of a pencil eraser.


There is no treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease. Podiatrists recommend frequent hand-washing to help to prevent the disease. When washing hands be sure to use hot water and an anti-bacterial soap. Hands should be washed for two minutes for the best results.

Sometimes it can be hard to figure out whether or not you or a loved one has hand, foot and mouth disease. If you are having a hard time deciding whether it is this disease or another foot problem such as a rash or blister, call Dr. Andrew H. Cohen, of Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center, located in Saginaw and Bay City, Michigan. Call 989-790-8009 or make an appointment online today. Your child’s foot health is important to us.