Puncture wounds are narrow, deep cuts. They happen when a sharp object punctures your skin — and although they can occur anywhere on your body, puncture wounds are particularly common on the bottoms of your feet.
Stepping on a sharp object like a nail or a large thorn can pierce your skin, even if you’re wearing shoes. Puncture wounds may not bleed much when you get hurt, but they pose a significant risk of infection, so it’s important to know what to do if you get one.
As wound care specialists, Lisa Burson, DPM, and Joe Aoun, DPM, are trained to clean and care for foot wounds at The Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bay City, Caro, and Lapeer, Michigan. Read on to find out how to clean a puncture wound and when to seek professional medical care.
Puncture wounds can be painful, but not all wounds require a trip to the doctor. If you or someone close to you has a small puncture wound that wasn’t caused by an animal bite, human bite, or piece of metal, start by following these first aid steps.
If the wound is bleeding, apply direct pressure over it to slow the bleeding. If you can, elevate the wound above the level of your heart. Bleeding should stop within 5-10 minutes. If it doesn’t, call 911, or seek emergency medical care.
Once bleeding stops, wash your hands with soap and water. Then, clean the wound with warm water and mild soap. Run clean water over the wound for 5-10 minutes to rinse out debris that may be trapped inside, and gently dry the skin around the wound.
Next, apply a thin layer of antiseptic or antibiotic ointment over the wound. Cover it with sterile adhesive bandages or gauze to help keep it clean.
Change the dressing and bandages at least once a day. When you change bandages, watch the wound closely for signs of infection. Go to the doctor if you experience worsening pain, swelling, pus, or fever.
Some types of puncture wounds require professional medical care. Call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room if the wound:
Even if the wound is relatively small, it can still get infected as it heals. Look closely for signs of infection, and go to the doctor if you notice:
At The Foot & Ankle Specialists, we offer prompt wound evaluations and personalized care. We may recommend vaccination for tetanus or rabies, depending on the cause of your bite. We can also close the wound with stitches, prescribe medication to treat infection, and teach you how to care for the wound at home to encourage proper healing.
Puncture wounds can be serious, and knowing what to do helps your body start healing faster. To learn more about foot puncture wound care, call our offices, or request an appointment online.