Given the current popularity of vampires and werewolves, (not to mention
the ever-present threat from rusty nails, thumbtacks and, of course, very
fierce rabbits), it’s probably wise to be fully knowledgeable about all
things relating to puncture wounds.
Like other types of cuts, puncture wounds are breaks in the skin that may
or may not penetrate to deeper layers (such as muscles and bones). Just as
a pesky nail can puncture your tire (probably just as you’re about to drive
to an important meeting), so too can sharp, pointed objects (like vampire
fangs, for instance) penetrate your skin. The problem is that, unless you
have the very good luck of getting stuck by a sterile object, your puncture
wound will probably have bits of things that are not good for you stuck
inside: dirt, perhaps a piece of your own skin, flakes of rust, saliva (if
you were bitten by something), and, of course, germs. (Tetanus is of
particular concern.) Sometimes the thing that punched through your skin
will, itself, stay embedded in your skin. For instance, a pencil lead might
break off, or a needle might be jammed in so deeply that it doesn’t
protrude at all above the skin.
Puncture wounds can vary in severity. For instance, if you’ve stepped on a
tiny thorn that didn’t penetrate very deeply, the wound probably isn’t too
severe. On the other hand, if you impale the ball of your foot on a rusty
nail, (or on the teeth of your neighbor’s dog), your wound is going to be
more serious. The severity of puncture wounds usually depends on how deeply
the object penetrated and how dirty it was when it did so; since dirtier
objects contaminate the wound more and deeper punctures can carry
contaminants further into your tissues, both increase your risk of
developing an infection. (If a vampire bites your foot, it’s really the
most serious wound of all.)
Most puncture wounds are accompanied by pain and some bleeding. (Also, if
you notice that the area below the wound has some loss of feeling or
function, you probably need immediate medical attention.) Bleeding may not
last long, and the wound may appear to close very quickly. This doesn’t
mean that you’ve completely recovered, though. You may still have bits of
stuff that are lurking beneath your skin, just waiting to cause problems.
That’s why it’s so important to get yourself and your puncture wound to a
podiatrist’s office as soon as you can (preferably within 24 hours of your
injury) so he or she can clean and treat it properly.
Those bitten by vampires should probably avoid human contact if possible.
Initial Home Treatment
Before you head to your doctor’s office, there are a few things you can do
to clean your wound as much as you can. (This applies even if you’ve been
bitten by a vampire. It simply wouldn’t do to have a swollen abscess on
your foot for all of your undead life.) If the wound isn’t deep, wasn’t
caused by a dirty object, and doesn’t bleed much, you may be able to skip
the doctor’s office entirely.
- First, make sure your hands are clean by washing them with
antibacterial soap or hand sanitizer. If your wound is still bleeding,
apply pressure (gently!) using a clean cloth. If, after several
minutes of pressure, the blood continues to flow or spurt, you need to
- Once the bleeding has stopped, rinse your puncture wound thoroughly
with water for at least five minutes. (You can even sing a song while
you do so to help pass the time. Maybe an aria from La Traviata, if
you feel like you can pull it off.)
- Wash your wound with soap, then check for objects inside the wound by
looking, not probing around with tweezers or something. If you find an
object, don’t attempt to pull it out yourself; instead, you should get
yourself to your friendly local podiatrist.
- You can apply an antibiotic ointment to help prevent infection, then
cover the site with a clean bandage that won’t stick to the wound.
Treatment by Your Podiatrist
If the puncture wound in your foot is deep, caused by a dirty object, or if
you notice foreign objects in the wound, you should definitely have it
checked out by a foot doctor. (Those with diabetes or others with nerve
problems should always see a podiatrist for puncture wound treatment.)
Your podiatrist will examine the wound, checking for embedded objects. The
area may be numbed while these objects are retrieved and the wound is
thoroughly cleaned. If damage to bones is a possibility, your podiatrist
may also get an X-ray of your foot in order to discover the damage and
figure out how best to treat it. Your podiatrist may also prescribe
antibiotics in order to prevent infection in the wound. You may also be
given a tetanus shot, especially if you haven’t had one in the past five
Avoiding Infection and Other Complications
Because puncture wounds are prone to infection (which can be quite
serious), it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your wound and watch for signs
that infection has taken root:
- Pus-like drainage
These symptoms may clear up in a week or two, but if they persist, you
should check with your podiatrist for further treatment.
Stay off your foot as much as possible while you recover from your wound.
This will give it a chance to heal, and will also help you avoid infection.
If your podiatrist has prescribed antibiotics for you, be sure to take the
whole prescription, even if you feel fine. Make sure the bandage covering
your wound is clean and dry by changing it daily (or more often if it gets
wet when someone rudely throws a water balloon at your injured self).
If the wound in your foot was caused by a vampire bite, pretty much the
only thing you can do now is hope one of your friends or neighbors has a
stake and knows how to use it. Sorry about that.
Call 719-543-2476 today to schedule your appointment!