Puncture wounds can occur just about anywhere on the body, but they're most likely to happen on your feet from stepping on something sharp. To avoid potentially serious infections, it's important to understand how puncture wounds affect the body and what can be done to treat them. The podiatrists at the Foot & Ankle Institute of West Houston, Texas - Dr. Asia Lo, Dr. Samuel Mendicino, and Dr. Manish Patel - can help if you are dealing with a puncture wound.
What is a puncture wound?
Unlike cuts or scrapes, which go across the skin's surface, puncture wounds on the feet are vertical injuries that often occur from stepping on a sharp object such as a nail or splinter. They can also occur from animal bites due to the shape and length of the canine teeth. Puncture wounds do not typically bleed much and may look and feel minor, but your West Houston podiatrist cautions all patients to have these types of injuries evaluated.
Why are puncture wounds potentially dangerous?
When a sharp object breaks the skin, it can leave behind any bacteria or other germs. Because of their shape and size, most cuts can usually be cleaned well enough to avoid serious infection. Puncture wounds, however, trap the bacteria inside the skin's deeper surfaces, making it difficult or impossible to clean them effectively. This can lead to potentially serious complications, including tetanus, a bacterial infection that affects the function of the nervous system.
How are puncture wounds treated?
If you step on a nail or other sharp object, your West Houston podiatrist recommends removing the object if possible. The wound should be thoroughly cleaned with soap and water. You should also call the Foot & Ankle Institute to report the injury; our medical staff will determine if you need to be seen. Animal bites, especially from wild animals or those that may not have had a rabies vaccine, always warrant medical treatment.
How can I prevent puncture wounds?
The best way to prevent puncture wounds on the feet is to wear sturdy shoes at all times outdoors. Parents and caregivers should make sure to keep their children's feet protected as well and discourage playing around old buildings and other structures that may contain nails or other sharp objects. To prevent animal bites, avoid contact with wild or stray animals.
For injuries, ongoing problems or any other foot and ankle related issue, trust your West Houston podiatrists at Foot & Ankle Institute! Contact us today for an appointment.