Ever since those first scrapes and bites you may have had as a small child, you have had to deal with injuries that cause openings in your skin. Sores come in all shapes, sizes, textures and locations—including your feet. It is important to know when they can be cared for at home and when they require professional wound care.
5 Basic Types of Wounds
Open wound covered with a bandageOpen wounds can be divided into the following categories:
An abrasion is a scrape on the surface that breaks the skin but usually doesn’t bleed much.
An incision is a cut by a sharp object like a razor or a scrap of metal. It bleeds more, and if deep enough can damage muscles and other tissues.
Lacerations can be deep cuts or tears in the skin that bleed a lot.
A puncture makes just a small hole in the skin and may not bleed much, but the nail or other sharp object can go deep and risk an infection inside the wound.
An avulsion means the skin and other tissue is torn away, as with a crushing injury or explosion.
Can You Treat It Yourself?
Surface scrapes like skinned toes or road rash on your feet can usually be dealt with at home. So can simple cuts on your ankles while shaving, or a small blister that pops. However, if you step on a nail, cut your foot on a broken piece of glass, or crush it in a car door, you should get medical help.
Remember, any break in your skin can be an invitation for bacteria to enter. To treat it yourself, wash the wound thoroughly to remove debris and bacteria, use pressure to stop any bleeding, and cover with a sterile bandage (some mild ones may not need this). Keep the area clean and dry for at least five days until the breaks in the skin have healed over.
You may have some pain, but we can let you know which over-the-counter medication is right for you (NOT aspirin, which promotes bleeding) if one is needed. You can also try to control discomfort and any swelling by icing briefly several times a day. Do not pick at the scabs that form, and protect the area from the sun.
Quick Quiz: Wounds That Require Medical Care
Wound CareAnswer Yes or No:
Is the wound deeper than a half inch?
Does bleeding continue even when you apply direct pressure?
Has it kept bleeding for more than 20 minutes?
Is a section of skin torn away?
Were you in a serious accident?
If you answered No to these questions, you are probably okay treating it at home. Use the home care methods above and watch for drainage or colored pus, fever, foul odor, or slow healing. If you answered Yes to any of them, or notice any of these complications, call Ankle and Foot Specialist of New Jersey to have it examined.
Specialized Wound Care for Diabetic Feet
Because the disease is often associated with nerve damage and poor circulation, you need to take special care of your feet if you have diabetes. Any injury that involves a break in your skin can lead to a non-healing ulcer and the risk of infection, gangrene, and possible amputation.
We offer care for diabetic wounds that includes debridement (removal of any dead tissue), antibiotic medication, and sterile dressings to protect it from infection. These open sores can take a long time to heal, and we may want to protect the area by designing an orthotic to offload pressure from the area.
Podiatric Care in the Edison, Hillsborough and Warren Area
For excellent wound care or treatment for any other foot issues, contact Dr. Jyotsna Thapar at Ankle and Foot Specialist of New Jersey. Our offices can be reached by dialing (908) 222-8980 or by using our contact form online. Don’t let a small foot wound turn into a big problem—call today!