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  • V. Chang

Fire, heat, shock and chemicals: Foot burns

Like other parts of the body, our feet can get burnt, too! Normally shoes protect the feet from these damage but sometimes they can only provide so much.

When the skin is burnt, the soft tissues in the outer and inner layers, and disrupts the skin's protection ability. The amount of skin damage varies on the severity of the burn; serious burns can affect your foot mobility and movement as the skin around the feet is fairly thin and the soft tissues like tendons and muscles can be affected. Normally the soles are thick due to the cushioning that is meant to sustain the enormous pressure. If this part of the foot is burnt, walking will be extremely difficult and painful.

How the level of severity is categorized

First degree (mild) - the skin is only burnt in the outer layers

Signs: redness, tenderness, swelling

Second degree (moderate) - deeper layers are affected

Signs: blisters, redness, swelling, soreness and tenderness

Third degree (severe) - all layers and even soft tissues are affect; lead to permanent scarring

Signs: waxy, charred and leathery skin

What's the treatment? Begin first aid immediately. Submerge the affected area in cool to lukewarm water; do not use iced water as it could increase the skin damage. Afterwards, carefully dry the area, apply a topical cream or similar over-the-counter products and loosely cover with a gauze and bandage. The area should be cleaned daily and also replaced with fresh gauze.

For second and third degree burns, the foot must be raised to minimize swelling and prevent a blood rush to the injury to reduce pain. Cold/lukewarm compresses are applied to cool down the skin. Treatment is necessary to avoid skin infections, and procedures may be required to fix the tissue damage. Finally, physical therapy may be needed to gain back foot function.

Reminder - even mild burns are serious, so treat all burns like a third degree.

If you need any treatments to your feet, seek Silvia, our Chiropodist, for an appointment!


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