Is this your child's symptom?
- The skin is punctured by a pointed narrow object
Causes of Puncture Wounds
- Metal: nail, sewing needle, pin, tack
- Pencil: pencil lead is actually graphite (harmless). It is not poisonous lead. Even colored leads are not toxic.
- Wood: toothpick
Complications of Puncture Wounds
- Retained Foreign Object. This happens if part of the sharp object breaks off in the skin. The pain will not go away until it is removed.
- Wound Infection. This happens in 4% of foot punctures. The main symptom is spreading redness 2 or 3 days after the injury.
- Bone Infection. If the sharp object also hits a bone, the bone can become infected. Punctures of the ball of the foot are at greatest risk. The main symptoms are increased swelling and pain 2 weeks after the injury.
When to Call Us for Puncture Wound
Call 911 Now
Call Doctor or Seek Care Now
Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours
Contact Doctor During Office Hours
Self Care at Home
Care Advice for Puncture Wound
- What You Should Know About Puncture Wounds:
- Most puncture wounds do not need to be seen.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- Cleaning the Wound:
- First wash off the foot, hand or other punctured skin with soap and water.
- Then soak the puncture wound in warm soapy water for 15 minutes.
- For any dirt or debris, gently scrub the wound surface back and forth. Use a wash cloth to remove any dirt.
- If the wound re-bleeds a little, that may help remove germs.
- Antibiotic Ointment:
- Use an antibiotic ointment (such as Polysporin). No prescription is needed.
- Then, cover with a bandage (such as Band-Aid). This helps to reduce the risk of infection.
- Re-wash the wound and put on antibiotic ointment every 12 hours.
- Do this for 2 days.
- Pain Medicine:
- To help with the pain, give an acetaminophen product (such as Tylenol).
- Another choice is an ibuprofen product (such as Advil).
- Use as needed.
- What to Expect:
- Puncture wounds seal over in 1 to 2 hours.
- Pain should go away within 2 days.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Dirt in the wound still there after 15 minutes of scrubbing
- Pain becomes severe
- Looks infected (redness, red streaks, pus, fever)
- You think your child needs to be seen
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.
Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
Copyright 2000-2023. Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.