You’re clowning around barefoot outdoors, when a stinging pain in your sole lets you know you’ve stepped on something sharp. And not just something, a nail! Or a screw! A screw is in your FOOT. It’s IN YOUR FOOT! Now what?
You’ve got a particularly nasty, but quite common, foot puncture wound. A foot puncture wound is not like a normal cut ; it is a small hole in the skin, but the hole is deep and the sharp object that caused the wound (the “foreign body” as they call it in the biz) is usually still stuck in the skin. If the object it stuck, the wound may not bleed much or at all.
Preventing a Puncture Wound in the Foot
To avoid getting a “hole in the sole,” be careful out there and follow these tips.
Wear appropriate socks and shoes for the occasion. Heavy-soled shoes should be worn if you’re playing or working in a place where sharp objects (nails, screws, stones, tacks, or insects) might be scattered about.
Check the insides of your shoes before jamming them on your feet to make sure nothing fell in while they were off. Pets sometimes like to hide small objects in their owners’ shoes.
If you have a condition that leaves you prone to infection (i.e., you suffer from diabetes, immunodeficiency, or peripheral vascular disease), you are particularly at risk and should avoid going barefoot altogether.
Caring for a Puncture Wound
If all of that fails, there are some steps you can take to treat a minor wound at home. First, wash your hands! If the wound is bleeding, apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or bandage.
Rinse the wound with water and use disinfected tweezers to remove debris. Clean the wound with soap and water, pat try with a clean towel, apply an antibiotic, and cover with a bandage. Change the bandage once a day.
If the wound is showing signs of infection – i.e., it swells up, turns red, is warm to the touch or the pain increases – then you need to see your foot and ankle specialist.
- There’s persistent bleeding,
- You were bitten by an animal (or human!), or
- It was caused by a dirty metal object,
…. then you need to take your puncture-wound to a foot and ankle specialist immediately. The sharp object has introduced debris and bacteria into your body, bypassing your body’s natural defenses provided by your skin. Don’t be that guy that refuses to get help – you might lose your foot!
Your foot and ankle specialist will want to know what type of sharp object caused the wound and if it’s still stuck in your foot. They’ll ask you where you were when the injury occurred (A park? A construction site?), and if you were wearing any socks or shoes at the time. Then, the doctor will assess how deep the wound is, administer anesthesia for the pain, and thoroughly clean out the wound of any debris. You might need a tetanus booster or antibiotics.
For more information or if you would like to make an appointment with one our foot and ankle specialists, please call (877) 989-9110 or visit us at www.footankleinstitute.com.
University Foot and Ankle Institute has nine locations throughout the Greater Los Angeles area.