I’ve recently had a lot of patients that have accidentally stepped on various objects, tried pulling them out on their own, and the objects broke off and a piece stayed inside their foot. When this happens, the body will have a reaction because there is something foreign in there that is not supposed to be. The reactions can be anything from swelling, to pus, to streaking or local redness. There are various ways to treat foreign objects inside the foot, depending on what it is and the location.
There are many instances where objects stay within the foot for several years, or for life. If they do not cause pain or a reaction, most of the time the patient is unaware that there is even something in there. However, if there is pain or discomfort, or any type of reaction listed above, the object can be removed surgically. Depending on the location of the object, it can be done in the office or in the operating room as an outpatient surgery, which means you are able to leave the same day of surgery. Your doctor will take X-rays using multiple views to find out the exact location of the foreign object. Sometimes, depending on the material of the object, it can not be found using X-rays. Other imaging, such as ultrasound or MRI might be used if necessary to find the location of the object.
Often times, there is an opening from where the object entered the skin. This helps the doctor narrow down where the object is located. Once the object is detected, your doctor will make a small incision to remove it. The foot will be numbed before the procedure is performed so the patient does not feel any discomfort. Once the object is removed, depending on how big the incision is, stitches may be used to hold the incision site together. Antibiotics may be prescribed if any infection is noted and pain medications may be prescribed to help the patient be more comfortable after the procedure.
If stitches are put in, they will typically be removed within 7-14 days after the procedure. The area will heal and the patient will be able to walk again with no pain or discomfort. If you suspect that you have stepped on an object and it’s inside your foot, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 813-875-0555. We have the latest imaging tools to locate your foreign body and are able to remove it with minimal discomfort!