Foot Laceration: All Closures

A laceration is a cut through the skin. Deep cuts may require stitches. Minor cuts may be treated with surgical tape closures or skin glue.

X-rays may be done if something may have entered the skin through the cut, such as glass or rocks. You may also need a tetanus shot if you are not up to date on this vaccination and the object that caused the cut may lead to tetanus.

Home care

  • Your healthcare provider may prescribe an antibiotic. This is to help prevent infection. Follow all instructions for taking this medicine. Take the medicine every day until it is gone or you are told to stop. You should not have any left over.

  • The healthcare provider may prescribe medicines for pain. Follow instructions for taking them.

  • Follow the healthcare provider’s instructions on how to care for the cut.

  • You may be given instructions for keeping weight off of the area to allow the injury to heal. 

  • Follow the healthcare provider’s instructions on how to care for the cut. 

  • Keep the wound clean and dry. Don't get the wound wet until you are told it is OK to do so. If the area gets wet, gently pat it dry with a clean cloth. Replace the wet bandage with a dry one.

  • To help prevent infection, wash your hands with soap and water before and after caring for the wound. 

  • Caring for stitches: Once you no longer need to keep the stitches dry, clean the wound daily. First, remove the bandage. Then wash the area gently with soap and warm water, or as directed by the healthcare provider. Use a wet cotton swab to loosen and remove any blood or crust that forms. After cleaning, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment if advised. Then put on a new bandage unless you are told not to.

  • Caring for skin glue: Don’t put apply liquid, ointment, or cream on the wound while the glue is in place. Avoid activities that cause heavy sweating. Protect the wound from sunlight. Don't scratch, rub, or pick at the adhesive film. Don't place tape directly over the film. The glue should peel off within 5 to 10 days. 

  • Caring for surgical tape: Keep the area dry. If it gets wet, blot it dry with a clean towel. Surgical tape usually falls off within 7 to 10 days. If it has not fallen off after 10 days, you can take it off yourself. Put mineral oil or petroleum jelly on a cotton ball and gently rub the tape until it is removed.

  • Once you can get the wound wet, you may shower as usual, but don't soak the wound in water. This means no tub baths or swimming.

  • Even with proper treatment, a wound infection may sometimes occur. Check the wound daily for signs of infection listed below.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. Return to have stitches removed as directed.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Wound bleeding not controlled by direct pressure

  • Signs of infection, including increasing pain in the wound, increasing wound redness or swelling, or pus or bad odor coming from the wound

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38.ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Stitches come apart or fall out or surgical tape falls off before 7 days

  • Wound edges reopen

  • Wound changes colors

  • Numbness or weakness in the affected foot 

  • Decreased movement of the foot

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© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.