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Family Foot & Ankle

What to Do About Puncture Wounds

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On one of these cold Cincinnati mornings, while scraping your car or trudging through slush, your mind might be tempted to wander—a tropical breeze, bright blue sky, walking barefoot on the beach. Our guess is that you probably didn’t picture yourself stepping on a broken seashell, but the reality is that puncture wounds on feet are fairly common—not just on sandy beaches, but also up north, indoor or out, shoes or not. If you step on something sharp, like a nail or piece of broken glass, you need to know what to do.

Your first step is to check and see if the object that caused the puncture remains in the wound. If there is still a large, intact object in the skin, and you can access it safely, try to remove it using a clean tweezers or needle.

Once the primary object is removed, stop any bleeding. Puncture wounds don’t usually bleed very much, so this will typically be accomplished relatively quickly by applying pressure with a clean cloth. Next, you should clean the entire area for about 5 minutes with clean, cool water and mild soap (such as dishwashing soap). Do not use alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, iodine—just soap. Finally, apply a bandage in order to keep the wound clear of further contamination.

Once first aid has been administered, your next step is to set up an appointment with Family Foot and Ankle as soon as you can—ideally within a day. Puncture wounds can be much deeper and cause more damage than they initially appear, and they can also leave behind foreign particles you may not be able to see or remove yourself. Since these complications can easily lead to infection (even bone infection), It’s important to get professional care promptly.

Our experienced podiatrists will clean the wound thoroughly, make sure no particles remain, and determine if any additional procedures (antibiotic medication, a tetanus shot, etc.) are necessary in order to minimize the risk of infection as much as possible. Once finished, you’ll need to follow your doctor’s orders and keep checking the area regularly for any trouble signs until the damage has fully healed.

Don’t sit around waiting for a puncture wound to get infected—take quick action and give Family Foot and Ankle Center a call or set up an appointment online. You can reach us at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572.

Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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