Foot Laceration (Child)   

A laceration is a cut through the skin. Your child has a cut on the foot. A deep wound usually requires stitches or staples. Minor cuts may be closed with surgical tape or skin adhesive. 

X-rays may be done if something may have entered the skin through the cut. Your child may also be given a tetanus shot. This may be given if your child is not up to date on this vaccination and the object that caused the cut may carry tetanus.

Home care

  • The healthcare provider may prescribe an oral antibiotic. This is to help prevent infection. Follow all instructions for giving this medicine to your child. Be sure your child takes the medicine as directed until it's gone or your healthcare provider says to stop, even if your child feels better. 

  • The healthcare provider may also prescribe medicines for pain. Follow the provider's instructions for giving these to your child.

  • Follow the healthcare provider’s instructions on how to care for the cut. Your child may have to keep weight off the injured foot to allow it to heal. Discuss the best way to do this with the healthcare provider.

  • Keep the wound clean and dry. Don't get the wound wet until you are told it is OK to do so. If the bandage gets wet, remove it. Gently pat the wound dry with a clean cloth. Then put on a clean, dry bandage.

  • Explain to your child in an age appropriate way what you are doing as you care for the wound. Let your child help when possible. For example, have your child hand you the towel or pat the area dry. 

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

  • Caring for stitches or staples:  Once it's OK to get the wound wet, clean the wound daily. First, remove the bandage. Then wash the area gently with soap and clean, running 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. Unless told not to cover the wound, put on a new bandage.

  • Caring for skin glue:  Don’t put apply liquid, ointment, or cream on the wound while the glue is in place. Have your child not do activities that cause heavy sweating or that would put the foot in water. Protect the wound from sunlight. Keep your child from scratching, rubbing, or picking at the adhesive. Don't place tape directly over the film. The glue should peel off on its own within 5 to 10 days.  If the wound gets wet, pat it dry.

  • Caring for surgical tape:  Keep the area dry. If it gets wet, pat it dry with a clean towel. Surgical tape usually falls off on its own 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 the wound can get wet, have your child take showers or sponge baths. Don't submerge the cut in water (no tub baths or swimming).

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

Follow-up care

Follow up with your child’s healthcare provider. Make a follow-up appointment to have sutures or staples removed.

Special note to parents

Healthcare providers are trained to see injuries such as this in young children as a sign of possible abuse. You may be asked questions about how your child was injured. Healthcare providers are required by law to ask you these questions. This is done to protect your child. Please try to be patient.

When to seek medical advice

Call the child's healthcare provider for any of the following

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°) or higher, or as directed by the child's healthcare provider

  • Chills

  • Wound bleeding not controlled by direct pressure

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

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

  • Wound edges reopens

  • Wound changes colors

  • Numbness or weakness in the affected foot 

  • Decreased movement of the foot

  • Reaction to skin glue, such as lots of itching or skin blisters

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