Ever step on a nail, or other sharp object? Has anyone in your family ever experienced a puncture wound to one of their feet?
Accidents happen, and sometimes they involve great pain. However, many puncture wounds are much more serious than patients believe at first. In fact, some can turn into serious conditions that threaten limb loss, or even loss of life, to patients in certain populations.
How worried should you be if you experience a puncture wound? Many patients choose to see a podiatrist because they can’t remember the last time they had a tetanus shot. If your puncture wound doesn’t appear to heal, and instead worsens, you should definitely seek treatment immediately. Not doing so risks loss of your limb due to infection, or possibly even loss of your life.
What Affects The Seriousness of a Puncture Wound?
Most puncture wounds, in and of themselves, are not of grave concern. Some cat scratches are no big deal. Even stepping on a nail, while painful, isn’t a huge problem.
But you still should have them addressed promptly to reduce your further risk of injury. Imagine, for a second, that you’re an elderly diabetic who gets scratched by a cat. Or, maybe your wound suddenly worsens because you’ve gotten cellulitis (a bacterial infection that attacks the deeper layers of your skin).
If you find yourself, or a loved one, in a situation where you have a puncture wound that’s worsening, it’s important to have this information available for your podiatrist:
Possible Treatments for Puncture Wounds
The main concern with puncture wounds is to seek evaluation and treatment immediately. Most puncture wounds heal relatively quickly and should only include moderate pain and discomfort, with appropriate treatment. Left unattended, they can dramatically worsen, leading to severe systemic infection.
X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds, or CT scans can be used to detect the foreign objects or materials located in the puncture area. A white blood cell count or metabolic panel may be taken to determine the presence or absence of infection.
If there’s no signs of a foreign object in your foot, and your wound is small, saline cleansing and a sterile dressing are about all that’s necessary for treatment. Incision and drainage is necessary if a wound is deep, is contaminated, or if treatment has been delayed. Antibiotics may be administered to patients at risk of developing infections, if they have delayed treatment, or if they have an obviously contaminated wound.
The Faster You Seek Treatment for Puncture Wounds to Your Feet, The Better
Basically, if you experience a puncture wound, see your podiatrist as soon as possible. The worst that can happen is that you get aggressive treatment so you don’t risk losing your limb – or life. The best that can happen is you learn you only need cleaning and dressing of your wound.