Puncture Wounds

Puncture wounds of the foot can be a very serious injury and should be evaluated by your Podiatrist or other health care practioner. Even a small needle or thorn can cause serious infection if the right organism is forced into the body. Some consequences of a neglected puncture wound can include cellulitis, abscess formation, retained foreign body, osteomyelitis, and infectious arthritis. A foreign body can remain in the tissue if not properly or completely removed. A foreign body that remains and becomes walled off within tissue can form an inclusion cyst. Animal bites are also puncture wounds, but can be a special circumstance which makes the wound prone to certain infecting organisms from the animal.

Causes for foot puncture wounds are most common with nails, needles, thorns, glass, and splinters of wood.

Prevention is aimed at wearing appropriate shoewear for the activity. Most puncture wounds occur while running around barefoot. Prevention of an infection following a puncture wound is best by consulting your podiatrist or physician immediately. Tetanus vaccinations may be needed if not “up to date”.

Podiatric Care may include removing a foreign body from the foot, irrigating with saline solution, or surgical debridement in an operating room. X-rays are frequently taken to evaluate the foot for remaining foreign body although many foreign bodies are undected with the radiographs. Some wood, glass, and metal objects will show on the x-rays. Follow up care with antibiotics, daily soaking, irrigation, or dressing changes may be needed. With an injury to the bottom of the foot it may be helpful to keep all weight off the foot for appropriate healing.