A minor cut or scratch on your foot is usually not cause for alarm, but certain kinds of wounds on your feet can become infected and lead to other health problems if they are not treated promptly.
Perhaps you've nicked your skin while trimming your toenails. Maybe your new shoes didn't fit properly and you have an uncomfortable blister on your ankle. Or you were outside working in your garden and discovered a rusty nail the hard way by stepping on it. These don't seem like cause for much concern, but foot wounds can necessitate immediate medical attention in some instances.
Certain ailments can make dealing with foot wounds profoundly more challenging. For instance, a simple blister in a healthy person would require a minimal amount of treatment in order to heal. But for someone who has poor circulation or neuropathy, found in individuals with diabetes and autoimmune or vascular disorders, the complications could be dire. These diseases, particularly diabetes, reduce feeling in the extremities and suppress healing. This means a scratch or cut on the foot can ulcerate, become infected and potentially lead to amputation if not treated promptly.
Patients who are at risk for foot wound complications should work directly with their physicians to understand how to prevent wounds and the management of existing wounds. This includes rigorous cleaning and careful inspection of the feet daily.
Feet are particularly susceptible to puncture wounds, as sharp objects on the ground may not be immediately seen as someone is walking. These injuries can be concerning because of the potential for harmful bacteria to thrive in the lowoxygen environment. The depth of the wound can cause pieces of debris to become trapped, and without proper care and cleaning, this can lead to a serious infection.
It is important to seek medical care as soon as possible after receiving a deep puncture wound on your foot, particularly if it penetrated your shoe. You may need a tetanus shot booster if you haven't received one in the last five to ten years. Even after visiting an emergency department, following up with a podiatrist afterwards is essential to ensure the injury site is clean and healing properly.
If you are diabetic or have another vascular disorder, it is important to maintain good hygiene and to stay in contact with your podiatrist in the event of an injury. Other foot wounds should be seen by a doctor to determine the best treatment.