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Splinters and Infections – when do you need to see a doctor?

by Dr. Brant McCartan

With Memorial Day behind us, and sunny days at the pool in our future we should all take a second to consider some points in foot safety! One important thing to be aware of is some of the dangers of bare feet. It is normal that everyone will spend some time walking around on bare feet this summer, especially our children. Whether it is at the beach, the local pool, or even playing in the yard, we will all go outside in bare feet this summer. This is unavoidable, and okay to do (everyone enjoys getting some sand in your toes at the beach) but it does come with some risk.

We all remember getting a splinter at the pool, or running around outside when we were kids. As parents, there are some things we need to be aware of for our children’s safety. First and foremost, the foreign body (the splinter) needs to be removed to allow the wound to heal. Removal can be as simple as a pair of pliers and a quick yank! Sometimes, however, the foreign body can wedge deep into a foot. If you or your child stepped on anything that is hard to remove, or if you think fragments may still be inside the wound, come see us. We have removed bits of seashell, rocks, splinters, and even a needle from feet! A quick X-Ray and inspection will allow our doctors to check for foreign bodies and remove them as painlessly as possible. If there is some significant pain associated with the wound, we can also numb the area to remove the agent.

With any type of open wound comes the risk of infection. Foreign bodies all have an increased capacity to carry infectious material into the injury. To lower this risk, the foreign body needs to be removed. The wound must also be covered and protected. Patients need to avoid going back outside in bare feet while the wound is healing. Also, be aware of some of the signs of infection. These signs include: redness, increased pain or tenderness, drainage (puss) from the wound, abnormal coloring, and even strange smells at the site of injury. Infections can also be accompanied by fever. If you notice any of these signs of infection, you may need additional treatment with antibiotics. Set up an appointment so that we can diagnose the infective agent, clean the wound, and prescribe the appropriate antibiotics to help your wound heal. An infected will have trouble healing so the sooner you can seek treatment, the better.

As with any wound, quick treatment is key. If you are unsure of any foot injury or if you think you or your child may have an infected splinter, set up an appointment today!

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This information is not meant as medical advice. It is provided solely for education. Our practice would be pleased to discuss your unique circumstances and needs as they relate to these topics.

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Milwaukee Foot & Ankle Specialists of Wauwatosa, Oak Creek, New Berlin and Mequon, Wisconsin (WI) treat all medical and surgical foot and ankle conditions. Licensed Podiatrists, Dr. Steven Waldman, Dr. Christopher Milkie and Dr. Lucy Meier can help bring you foot and ankle pain relief.
Our podiatrists, foot surgeons and staff of our Milwaukee area podiatry offices offer the most effective and state-of-the-art, quality podiatry care services with a smile to patients in our local community. Return to a pain-free life and get back to the things you love!
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