As the temperature increases, we are all tempted to kick off our shoes and socks and let our feet enjoy some fresh air! It is even more tempting to start walking barefoot around the house or even outside during the warm weather. However, walking barefoot can pose many dangers to the feet! The most obvious risk of walking barefoot is stepping on an object and it getting embedded in the foot. Rocks, pebbles, twigs, thorns, glass, and nails are outside objects that can get into the feet, but inside dangers can include toothpicks, animal hair, cat litter, and pieces of wood.
If a rusty object, such as a nail, punctures the foot, it is essential to report to the ER for a tetnus booster and possibly more extensive treatment. Tetnus is caused by an anaerobic organism, Clostridium tetani. The rough surface of nails, along with the rust, is an ideal habitat for this bacterium. In addition to tetnus prophylaxis, antibiotics (for the possibility of infection by this or other organisms), and local wound care for the entry point of the foreign object may be needed.
Certain diseases can slow the healing of a wound on the foot. Some of these diseases include the following: diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, peripheral vascular disease, neuropathy, and many others. Special tests and bloodwork may be needed, along with consultation to a variety of specialists, if healing is delayed.
During these warm months, and year round, it is important to wear some type of shoe both inside and outside to protect your feet! Dr. Mary Ann Bender has been working in the Chicagoland area for the last 11 years and joined the Advanced Physical Medicine team three years ago. She treats all conditions of the foot and ankle. Call for your appointment, 708-763-0580. Dr. Bender accepts all PPO insurance plans (including United Health Care), Worker's Compensation, Self Pay, and Medicare.