Puncture wounds are caused by an object puncturing (open) the skin, such as a nail or needle. Puncture wounds require different treatment from cuts because these small holes in the skin can disguise serious injury. There are different ways of determining the severity of a puncture wound. Depth of the wound is one way to evaluate how severe the wound is. The deeper the puncture, the greater the likelihood that complications, such as infection, will develop. Many patients cannot judge how far their puncture extends into the foot.
Open wounds can be classified into a number of different types, according to the object that caused the wound. The types of open wound are:
- Incisions or incised wounds
- Penetrations wounds
The podiatrist will properly care for these injuries and will make sure your wound is properly cleaned and no foreign body remains. The podiatrist may numb the area, thoroughly clean inside and outside the wound, and monitor your progress. In some cases, x-rays may be ordered to determine whether something remains in the wound or if bone damage has occurred. To treat or prevent infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.
Infection is a common complication of puncture wounds that can lead to serious consequences. Sometimes a minor skin infection evolves into a bone or joint infection, so you should be aware of signs to look for. Other complications that may arise from inadequate treatment of puncture wounds include painful scarring in the area of the wound or a hard cyst where the foreign body has remained in the wound.
Although the complications of puncture wounds can be quite serious, early proper treatment can play a crucial role in preventing them.