Learn why cellulitis happens on your legs

Dr. Phil Mitchell
Medically reviewed by Dr. Phil Mitchell

What causes cellulitis on legs?

Cellulitis happens when bacteria like Streptococcus (strep) or Staphylococcus (staph) get through your skin and cause an infection. Your legs are more likely to get cellulitis because they are prone to skin injuries, which allow bacteria to enter the body. Legs may also have circulation problems. Poor circulation helps bacteria to grow and spread more easily.

Common causes of cellulitis on your legs include:

  • Cuts or scrapes
  • Dry, cracked skin
  • Eczema
  • Insect bites
  • Lymphedema
  • Peripheral vascular disease (PAD)
  • Psoriasis
  • Shaving nicks and irritation
  • Skin ulcers (sores) from diabetes