Sole Protection: Caring for Foot Punctures

Summer is a time of roaming barefoot through the grass and sandy beaches. Unfortunately, summer is also the time when doctors see an increase in cases for foot punctures. Broken glass shards, shells, tacks, nails, screws, thorns and prickers, sharp edge plastic, pencil tips, sewing needles and even the metal hooks used for hanging Christmas ornaments are among the many objects found to cause foot punctures. Hot summer days are notorious for bringing patients to the hospital with allergic reactions caused by stepping barefoot on an unsuspecting bumblebee. The top of the foot is also vulnerable to punctures from sharp falling objects.

If you plan to walk barefoot through the park you might want to consider watching your step to keep the skin protected from metal and wooden slivers. Though shoes, sneakers and boots offer greater protection from foreign object foot punctures some things, like nails, sewing needles and tacks, have a way of getting through rubber souls and into a foot.

Surface foot punctures, those that barely scratch the soles surface, are usually treated at home. Rusty nails and the like are an exception to this as they may contain bacteria carrying tetanus, a virus that causes extreme muscle stiffness and spasms. If a rusty object does penetrate the foot the injured party should seek medical attention immediately. The same is true for any wound with prevalent redness, pus, or drainage, where the bleeding continues, unknown spider bites, allergic reactions to bee stings, or any wound that doesn’t begin to heal within a few days.

Foot punctures can become more serious because a person’s weight could cause the object to pierce deep into the skin and muscle. Slivers running deep into the foot should be looked at by a doctor even if the injured person believes he or she removed all it.

To care for surface foot punctures first remove the foreign object from the foot if able. If unable to readily remove the object use a pair tweezers cleaned in an alcohol based solution. Clean the skin and make sure to remove all dirt and debris. Then clean again and apply an antibiotic ointment or cream to seal and protect the area. To stop any bleeding that might occur, or keep dirt from entering the wound cover with a cloth or bandage. Stay off the foot as much as possible until the soreness goes away.

The best course of action is protection and prevention. Knowing what to do when accidents happen can save a patient from long hospital stays, or serious complications down the line.