Foreign Bodies

Question:  What do the following have in common:  Pins, needles, thumbtacks, gravel, nails, glass, wood, wire, coral, bullets, B-B's, pieces of seashells, portions of shoes, fragments of china, shards of metal, and a jack (from the children's game 'ball and jacks')?

Answer: We've removed them from a foot at one time or another. 

Foreign bodies are a common part of podiatric practice.  This is because we walk around on our feet all day, so are feet are exposed to a lot more potential danger of foreign bodies than other parts of the body.  And it's particularly true in the summer when people tend to go barefoot or wear sandals, flip flops or other inappropriate shoe gear. 

Foreign bodies can obviously be quite uncomfortable and usually need to be removed. But they can also cause infection of the soft tissues or bone, injure nerves and circulation, create uncomfortable and unsightly scars and cause tetanus.

What can you do to avoid problems with foreign bodies?

First, wear appropriate shoes, even in the summer.  Good shoes offer your feet the best protection against this sort of injury. 

But even with the best shoes, you may still find a way to get something imbedded in your foot.  If you're a victim of a foreign body, seek the nearest medical attention immediately, as the longer you wait, the harder the injury may be to treat. 

Your foot will be assessed clinically and/or with X-rays or other imaging studies.  Your foot will be anaesthetized and the foreign body will be removed.  Your foot will be washed out with large volumes of water and cleaned thoroughly.  Your foot will then be dressed.  You may be given antibiotics orally or intravenously.  And a tetanus shot may be required.   



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The Achilles Foot Health Centre
S. A. Schumacher, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S., F.A.C.F.A.O.M.  
Dr. S. A. Schumacher, Podiatric Corporation  

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