The news is out that Kristen Stewart sustained a foot injury on the set of the latest Twilight Saga movie. I can’t say I’m really a fan of the series, although that Taylor Lautner certainly is in shape. Apparently Kristen suffered a puncture wound to her foot, though we’re not exactly clear what object caused the puncture (probably not a vampire tooth). The wound was so bad that she had to wear – gasp! – sensible shoes during an interview with Jay Leno. So, what is the deal with puncture wounds, anyway?
If I got a nickel for every object that I’ve pulled out of patients’feet in my NYC podiatry office over the past eight years… Well it’s more than a nickel, but it requires more effort than you would think. The feet are quite prone to puncture wounds, in which a foreign object – you guessed it – punctures the skin of the foot, often while walking barefoot, and penetrates the skin. As expected, these wounds are quite common in the summer months. Some of the objects I have fished out include splinters, glass, cactus spines, and most frighteningly, insulin needles from diabetic feet. This last category is especially worrisome due to the fact that diabetics can develop numbness in the feet, known as diabetic neuropathy, which prevents them from feeling an initial puncture wound allowing then a small wound to quickly develop into a big problem.
It can be very difficult to extract these objects from the feet in the office, and I certainly would advise against anyone digging for treasures themselves at home. Foreign bodies can appear superficial, but in fact be deceptively deep. And if left untreated, there is risk of infection, especially in patients who suffer from diabetes or peripheral artery disease. Fortunately, my NYC podiatry office is equipped with diagnostic ultrasound and fluoroscopy, two imaging modalities that allow visualization of soft tissue and foreign bodies in real time. Thus, these objects can often be removed in the office under local anesthesia, with minimal damage to surrounding tissue.
So this summer, enjoy the beach and outdoors, and consider the use of sunscreen and shoes. And if something should happen, make an appointment and head on over to our NYC office. Kristen – I can even squeeze you in for an appointment.
See you in the office.
Dr. Ernest L. Isaacson