punctureI.      Definition:  A puncture wound occurs when the skin is penetrated by a sharp object.  These wounds are often known to cause pain, swelling, and redness around the wound.  Since puncture wounds often occur when an object is pushed deep into the skin, the wounds are difficult to clean and therefore are highly prone to infection.  The risk of infection is particularly high when puncture wounds occur on the bottom of the feet and the object has gone through an athletic shoe.  The object can collect bacteria found in the foamed sole of the shoe and cause infection.  Puncture wounds can be very serious if the penetration is so deep that it hits bone and introduces bacteria into the bone and/or joints.  Injuries that occur outdoors are usually more serious than those occurring indoors.

II.      Cause:   Puncture wounds are often caused by objects such as nails, pencils, toothpicks, and needles.

III.      Treatment and Prevention:  First aid techniques should be used to treat puncture wounds.
•    Thoroughly clean the wound with soap and water.
•    Reduce weight on the injured part of the foot for a couple of days.

See a healthcare professional if you have a puncture wound and meet any of the following conditions:
•    You are a diabetic patient, or have any condition that causes loss of sensation.
•    The pain persists for several days.
•    Fever, pus, or redness occurs, indicating infection.
•    Puncture resulted from a dirty object and your last tetanus booster was over 5 years ago.
•    The injury occurred outdoors.