Foot and ankle wounds can be painful and debilitating. Some minor wounds can be cared for at home, but for others you need help from Long Island medical professionals who are experienced in wound care.
A wound is a laceration or breaking of the skin, often with damage to underlying tissue. So the skin’s function, which is to keep bacteria out, is damaged. Wounds can be minor, such as superficial cuts or blisters. Or the tissue loss can go deeper and become much more serious. There are many causes of foot and ankle wounds.
Wounds caused by injuries: How many times have you hurt your foot, perhaps by stepping on a garden tool, a piece of broken glass, or even a sharp rock? With proper care, such as cleaning, disinfecting and bandaging, such wounds will often heal. But if the injury does not heal or shows signs of infection, you should contact your doctor. If you have a puncture wound, you should seek medical treatment right away, because a puncture wound can potentially allow germs and bacteria deeper into the body.
Diabetic Ulcers: If you have diabetes, it is important to treat foot injuries immediately. Because of the diabetes, you are prone to slow healing foot ulcers and due to lack of nerve sensation, you may not even realize you have a wound unless you check your feet regularly. Without proper treatment, even minor foot wounds can quickly turn very serious.
Venous Statis Ulcers: Venous ulcers are the result of abnormal vein function. the ulcers happen when blood backs into your veins, eventually causing an ulcer. People may inherit a tendency for abnormal veins. Common causes of damaged veins include blood clots, injury, aging, and obesity. Venous ulcers often occur in people with varicose veins, blood clots or leg swelling.
Arterial Ulcers: If you have heart disease, arteriosclerosis, kidney failure, or other conditions that can lead to poor circulation, you may develop ulcers in the lower extremities. Because the skin and tissues are deprived of oxygen, an affected area may develop into an open wound, or minor scrapes or cuts may fail to heal and develop into an ulcer.
If you have a wound, it is important to know when to get help. You should contact your doctor if:
- You can’t stop the bleeding. If the wound is bleeding, apply pressure using sterile gauze, or a clean towel. If the wound is bleeding heavily or does not stop bleeding after fifteen or twenty minutes, get medical help.
- You have a puncture wound. Objects that are dirty, rusty or contaminated can lead to infections or tetanus.
- A cut is deep, or longer than half an inch. If it is anything more than a minor cut, see a doctor. Your doctor can determine if you need stitches, a tetanus shot or antibiotics.
- There is something in the wound. Whatever injured you may still be in the wound. Or the wound may contain debris that you are unable to flush out.
- Someone or something bit or scratched you. Such injuries have a high risk for infection.
- You haven’t had a tetanus shot recently. Your medical professional will let you know if it has been too long.
You can help prevent painful wounds by treating the underlying causes of common wound problems, such as diabetes. Simple, common sense measures can also make a difference. Don’t go barefoot. Wear properly fitting, protective shoes. But if you have a wound, seek treatment. Wounds can be treated using a variety of dressing materials, keeping the weight off of the foot, compression bandages, or surgery, depending on the cause of the wound. The podiatrists at Great Neck Family Foot Care provide experienced podiatric care, including wound care. If you have any questions, please contact us.