There are many aspects that can affect how fast you can heal a cut or wound on your foot.
As a Clinical Nurse Consultant in Wound Management, I have seen people heal fast from foot cuts, but I have also seen people who heal very slowly and run into complications.
Let’s explore how to heal a cut on the bottom of your foot as fast as possible and reduce the risk of further complications.
If you have been cut by glass, metal or wood, it is important to see your local health professional as you may require a tetanus vaccination.
Table of contents
- What to do when you cut your foot
- How to heal a foot cut
- How to keep a bandage on the bottom of your foot?
- How do you know if you have an infected cut?
- Some of the signs and symptoms of local infection of the wound/cut are:
- What if my infection is getting worse?
- When should I see a doctor?
- How to heal a foot cut foot quickly
- How long does it take for a cut on your foot to heal
- Cut on toes or feet that wont heal
- Healing a cut in the crease of toes
- Diabetes and cuts on feet
- When to seek medical advice
What to do when you cut your foot
For minor cuts:
- Apply direct pressure to stop any bleeding
- Wash your hands
- Clean the cut use antiseptic such as iodine and ensure there is no debris in the wound
- cover the cut with dressing (see below)
- Protect the dressing from being soiled or getting wet
- Change dressing as required
- Keep an eye on signs and symptoms of infection
- Try and rest the area
For more severe cuts:
- Apply direct pressure to the area- if you can’t stop the bleeding and it is bleeding a lot call for an ambulance or get to your nearest ED
- Assess to see if you require stitches- if you do attend the Emergency Department or your local doctor
- If it appears superficial, follow the steps below and follow up with your local health professional if required
How to heal a foot cut
To help heel a foot cut or wound as soon as possible, it is important to take proper care of it.
The first step after getting a cut is to put pressure on the cut for a few minutes until the bleeding stops. This helps the blood coagulate and stop it from bleeding.
Before ever starting care, please ensure you wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand gel to remove any bacteria off your hands.
After obtaining a cut or injury to your foot, it is important to clean the area, especially if there is any dirt or debris in the cut itself. It is as simple as cleaning the area with warm soapy water the area or if you have sterile saline available this is perfect.
If there is still some debris in the wound, your health care provider can order an X-ray to see if there is anything still left in the cut.
After you finish cleaning the whole area, use an antiseptic directly on the area to reduce the risk of infection. Betadine (iodine) is a fantastic option for this, as it kills bacteria, fungi and viruses.
Applying an antiseptic helps to reduce your risk of infection and give you a better chance to heal faster than if you didn’t use it.
Finally, cover the area with a sterile dressing that keeps the area clean and covered. If you have limited supplies, some gauze and tape over the wound is better than keeping it open.
If all goes well and there is no obvious infection, there should be a scab forming.
Please don’t pick at this, leave it as it is and let your body do what it is designed to do. I normally recommend still covering the cut even if it is still scabbed over. This helps to protect it and prevents it from catching and ripping off.
The scab will eventually fall off with some nice pink new skin underneath.
A step by step summary on how to care for a cut on the bottom of your foot:
- Put pressure on the area to stop the bleeding.
- Wash hands or use hand gel
- Wash wound and ensure there is no debris left inside
- Apply antiseptic such as iodine
- Pat dry the area
- Apply a sterile dressing to the cut and ensure it is all sealed
- Apply a bandage over top to help protect the dressing
- Check every couple of days by removing the dressing
- Then repeat with washing the wound, applying antiseptic and a sterile dressing for as long as it takes to heal.
How to keep a bandage on the bottom of your foot?
The best way to keep a dressing on the bottom of your foot is either by using tape or using a bandage.
Tape is an easier way, just take extra care when removing not to cause trauma to the surrounding skin.
Applying a bandage to cover a cut on the bottom of your foot can be tricky. Here is a step by step on how to do this.
Step 1- Clean wound and apply dressing to the cut
Step 2- Have the bandage facing this way
Step 3- roll out the bandage from the top of the foot, over your toes and to under your foot
Step 4- Roll the bandage around to secure the first lot of bandaging. Apply firm pressure and slowly roll the bandage around the foot
Step 5- Secure the bandage with tape. I dont reommend using the clip provided as this has been known to cause puncture cuts to the skin.
Step 6- Apply as much tape as required. I normally tape the top and the bottom separately, this also help the bandage from rolling.
Please see the video below that demonstrates how to bandage your foot with a bandage after you have applied a dressing to the wound.
How do you know if you have an infected cut?
As soon as we break the security of our protective skin layer, there is a higher risk of infection to the site.
Not only do we live in a world full of an abundance of microorganisms, but we also have resident micro-organisms that reside on our skin. This is normal, and they generally dont harm us.
But if those bacteria get a chance to invade into a wound, they can cause harm by multiplication and causing infections.
Some of the signs and symptoms of local infection of the wound/cut are:
- The skin around the cut is red and warm to touch
- There is an unusual odour coming from the cut
- There is weird coloured ooze coming out of the cut. This can be green, or yellow. It is normal to have a slight red or clear fluid coming out, but if these changes colour its a warning sign something is brewing.
- The cut has started to weep and ooze a lot of fluid.
- You notice you have more pain in and around the cut
If your experiencing any of these symptoms, please see your local health care professional for review, especially if your a diabetic.
What if my infection is getting worse?
Some signs and symptoms of more serious infection are:
- Feeling generally unwell
- You running a fever/ feel hot and sweaty
- You have redness going up your foot
- Feel lethargic
- Increased pain
- You have increased swelling
Cellulitis can occur after an injury that exposes our defence system. Cellulitis is the invasion of microorganisms into the surrounding tissues. This can cause a lot of pain, and sometimes requires hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics.
It is very important to know the signs and symptoms of infection, as you may require a visit to your doctor for oral antibiotics. It is best to get onto this early when you notice localised signs of infection. If you’re unable to get to the doctor very soon, you may need to present to the ED.
Because your bodies natural defense system (the skin) has been compromised, this allows all types of bugs to access your system and start invading and multiplying.
When should I see a doctor?
If you have cut your foot and it is quite deep, get it seen to by a doctor incase you needs stitches.
If your showing signs of advancing infection, or feeling generally unwell it is vital that you see your doctor. You may require antibiotics to help with the infection.
In the earlier stages of infection, it is possible to treat the wound infection with topical agents that can kill the bacterial load on the surface of the cut/wound area.
Some of those products include:
- Dressings with Ag (Silver) impregnated in them
- cadexomer iodine which comes in a powder or paste and is a cheaper alternative to silver
- Daily application of Betadine (Povidone-iodine)
None of these products requires a script, but if you have allergies to seafood or silver its probably best to talk to your pharmacist prior to commencing any treatment.
How to heal a foot cut foot quickly
The best and fastest way to heal a wound is to clean and cover straight away, and to check it regularly to see if there are any signs of concern. Some other ways to help heal a foot cut quickly is to:
- Eat a healthy well-balanced diet. Deficiencies in zinc, protein and vitamin C can slow wound healing.
- Try and not cause trauma to the area by keeping off it, especially if the cut is on the bottom of your foot
- Put your foot up when your resting, this helps with blood flow. Good blood flow equals improved oxygenation and nutriments
- People with diabetes should see their local doctor right away for a thorough assessment.
- If possible, wear socks and shoes to protect the dressing from being soiled
- If you notice the dressing is wet or soiled, clean the wound and change the dressing right away. Having a very soiled dressing from water or oozing from the wound can encourage bacteria to migrate to the wound bed.
- Always wash your hands with warm soapy water or use alcohol-based hand gel prior to attending to your cut/ wound
- Reduce or quit smoking as this slows healing and has other obvious effects on health
- If your experiencing pain, try and avoid anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or Voltaren as this reduces the action of your immune system.
How long does it take for a cut on your foot to heal
Healing time depends on a number of factors, those include:
- the cause of the injury
- If the cut has any debris left inside of it, such as wood
- How deep the injury is
- Medical history such as diabetes
- Types of medications you may be taking can slow down and alter wound healing processes. Do not stop any medication for this reason, and always consult your local health care professional prior to any changes to your medication regime.
- How good your blood supply is to your feet
- How you treat the cut
Healing is progressive, and you should see gradual improvement each time you attend your cut and apply a new dressing. If things are taking longer than you would expect, seek medical input.
Cut on toes or feet that wont heal
If you find that the cut on your toes or feet is very slow to heal, or even gotten worse. It is best to visit your local health care professional for a holistic assessment. Other than infection, there are a number of reasons a cut won’t heal. This may include poor circulation, diabetes, debris in the wound and other related factors.
Healing a cut in the crease of toes
OUCH! These hurt! If this has happend to you by a forign object treat as mentioned in the above post.
However, if the cut has come out of nowhere or you don’t remember injuring yourself, it is possible you could have a fungal infection.
The feet generally sweat and moisture can build up between the toes.
I have seen some very manky toes in my time, some of them caused by too much moisture around the toes, feeding the fungus that lives naturally on our bodies.
If you think you have a fungal infection, try an antifungal cream or spray and follow the directions on the label.
It is always best to get a medical health professional to assess first to ensure this is the right treatment for you.
Having an open cut, as mentioned earlier, can expose your body to bacteria on our skin and within our environment, so always best to play on the side of caution and treat the cut to prevent any complications.
Diabetes and cuts on feet
Having diabetes can further complication the length of time for a cut to heal, and also increase the risk of infection and further complications.
Diabetes is a complex process and can slow the rate of healing. Diabetics are at increased risk of infections, amputations and death.
Some diabetics may have numbness in the feet (Peripheral Neuropathy), which further complicates treatment.
Diabetics are also at increased risk of reduced blood supply to the toes, without good blood supply cuts can deteriorate rapidly and its common to see diabetics requiring amputations.
If you are diabetic, and have obtained a cut or wound on your foot. Follow the steps for self care, and make an appointment with your health professional for further assessment.
Even if you don’t have an infection, I still highly recommend you see your local professional as the risks are very high for diabetics, especially if your a long term diabetic or have unstable blood glucose levels.
When to seek medical advice
Call and make an appointment with your healthcare professional if you have any of the following:
- You have signs and symptoms of infection there were listed earlier
- You cannot control the bleeding by applying direct pressure
- Become unwell, lethargic and get a fever (above 38c)
- Notice an unpleasant odour coming from the cut
- See and notice an unpleasant ooze that might be green or yellow
- Breaking open of stitches if you have them
- swelling of the foot or limb or numbness
- increased pain in the foot or limb
- If any reasons you might be concerned or want to be extra cautious, always best to get professional advice.
In summary, proper treatment and care of a foot cut or wound can help prevent infection and help you heal your cut without complications.
If you have any signs and symptoms of infection see your local health care provider. If your diabetic and have obtained a cut to your foot, also get professional advice due to the high rates of complications in this cohort.