Taking care of stitches in your foot, whether they’re stitches on the bottom of your foot or stitches in between your toes, is not as hard as it might seem. Like with other parts of your body, stitches need to be kept clean and dry and checked regularly to avoid infections.
If you’re wondering how long should stitches stay in the foot, it varies based on the wound, but typically wounds of the feet heal a little more slowly than they do on other parts of the body. Typically, they heal in around 14 days.
Here are 7 easy steps you can take to care for stitches on your foot:
1. Keep Stitches Dry
For the first 24 hours at a minimum, preferably 48 hours, you must keep your stitches dry. You’ll want to make sure you keep them covered with some type of waterproof dressing. If you don’t have this, you can try using some cling wrap or a plastic bag when you take a bath or shower. When cleaning the area, be sure you pat it dry using a soft paper towel or towel to avoid pulling your stitches out. Avoid all water activities, such as swimming, until your stitches are removed.
2. Keep Stitches Area Clean
To clean stitches on foot, you’ll need to know how to wash stitches in general. It’s important you keep the stitches and the areas surrounding them clean at all times. You’ll want to wash the area at least once a day. Ensure your hands are washed before you touch the area to keep germs from passing into the wound. Wash it quickly and gently, rather than soaking the area. Then be sure you dry it thoroughly right after. If there’s a bandage, be sure to replace it regularly (your doctor will give you instructions).
3. Make Sure Wound Doesn’t Get Infected
Check the stitches and the area around your wound for signs of infection. Your recovery period will be much faster if you catch an infection early. Look for things like:
- Sensitivity in the stitches area
If it gets worse or doesn’t subside, go back to your podiatrist or doctor to have it looked at.
4. Leave Stitches Alone
Regardless of how itchy the area with the stitches gets, do not scratch the wound or pick the stitches. This could open the wound up and allow an infection to spread. Keep them covered if needed, but leave them alone. If you feel any pain related to the wound, you could try taking some over-the-counter pain medicine, but ask your doctor or podiatrist first.
5. Rest (Stay Off your Feet as Much as Possible)
Keep the weight of your body off your foot as much as possible. Adding your bodyweight to your foot could add strain to the wound. Don’t walk on your foot, particularly if you have stitches on your toe or underside of your foot. This will help to keep the wound from opening up again.
6. Talk to Your Doctor About Stitches on Toes vs Stitches on Bottom of Foot
Your doctor or podiatrist will give you instructions on how to care for the wound and stitches depending on the type of stitches and wound and where they’re located, whether they are stitches on top of the toe, stitches between toes, stitches on the bottom of the toe, or stitches on the bottom of the foot. You might have to avoid walking for a bit, but this will ultimately be up to the doctor to decide. They’ll let you know how often to wash your wound and how often to check it as well as when your stitches will need to be removed. Certain stitches dissolve and will come out by themselves. The doctor will need to remove the other types.
7. When to Consult a Doctor
Be sure to call your doctor if you experience any wound bleeding that direct pressure doesn’t control. If you see any signs of infection mentioned above or if you’re experiencing a fever of 100.4 degrees F or higher, call your doctor. If the stitches fall out or are coming apart before seven days, you’ll need to consult the doctor as well as if you notice any changes in color in the wound, weakness or numbness in the affected foot or the wound edges are reopening.
Contact us at Red Mountain Footcare today if you have any questions or concerns about your foot stitches or if you would like to schedule an appointment. Dr. Pawlowski and our team are friendly and helpful with over 35 years of experience.