Do I Need Stitches?
How to Tell If You Need Medical Care
If you are not getting medical attention from your doctor or nurse, then you might need stitches. Stitching wounds will prevent infection and keep them clean. There are different types of stitches that can be used depending upon the severity of the wound.
The most common type of stitch used is sutures. They are made out of cotton and they hold the skin together so that it doesn’t tear off and cause infection. Suture is usually applied with a scalpel knife or scissors. A needle may be needed to draw blood for testing purposes if there is no blood flow to the wound.
Suturing is done under local anesthesia. Usually the patient goes into a room where someone uses special equipment to sew up the wound. After stitching, you must wait at least one hour before you can go back to work. You have to wear a dressing until all the stitches are removed and washed off.
Afterwards, you should see your doctor or nurse for follow-up treatment. If you are taking blood thinners, there is a chance that the wound will not heal well enough. If this is the case, you may need an operation to close the wound by using metal clips.
Stitches With and Without Sutures:
Some wounds may not require sutures and glue can be used instead. This type of wound closure works just as well without causing much discomfort. It can be used on burned skin or when the skin has been damaged beyond repair. The success rate of this treatment is very high.
Wound closure can be easily done but you still have to keep the wound clean and follow up with your doctor.
These are scrapes or scratches which involve the skin and the top layer of the epidermis has been taken off. They can be caused by an array of things from a fall to catching your arm against a sharp edge. Fortunately, most of these can be treated at home.
If you injure yourself badly, you may need to seek medical treatment. But in the case of abrasions, a first aid kit is all you really need to get better. Clean the wound with soapy water to avoid infection and cover it with a bandage to prevent dirt getting in. Under no circumstances should you apply alcohol or any other toxic chemical to the area as it will only make things worse.
If you feel dizzy or faint while cleaning the wound, sit down and have a rest. If symptoms persist, seek medical attention. You may have a more severe injury than you think. Once the bleeding has stopped, you can apply an ointment such as Neosporin to protect the wound from infection.
Dealing with Wounds at Work:
Most people who sustain injuries on the job will be entitled to workers’ compensation. If you are injured during the course of your employment, your employer is legally obligated to pay for any medical treatment.
However, this will only cover you in the case of an accident at work. If you injure yourself while commuting to or from your job, you will not be covered under workers’ compensation and will have to foot the bill yourself.
If you do sustain a wound because of your job, make sure to report it as soon as possible. Your employer may require you to get a doctor’s note to confirm the cause of your injury.
If you are misclassified as an independent contractor, you may not be covered under workers’ compensation at all. You are at risk of losing out on benefits if your injury is serious enough. It is important that you report any and all accidents in order to maintain a safe and healthy work environment.
Infection and Wound Care:
The most common cause of infection is not washing the wound thoroughly. Many people believe that water will cause the wound to heal worse or make it more prone to infection but this is not true. Bacteria can easily enter your body through a cut or scrape so it is important to wash the area as soon as possible after the injury occurs.
If you have been exposed to potentially dangerous substances such as blood or other bodily fluids, you should seek medical attention immediately. Your risk of getting a life-threatening infection increases dramatically if the open wound is not treated properly.
Most people do not realize that not washing the wound immediately can cause an infection. It is important to keep the area as germ free as possible and this starts with cleanliness.
If you believe that the wound has gotten worse or you are showing symptoms of an infection, visit the doctor immediately. The longer you wait, the worse it will get.
There are several types of wounds and each requires a different level of treatment. You cannot use the same method of wound care on a deep cut as you would for a burn. The type of wound should dictate how you clean and bandage it.
Abrasions, or skin abrasions, are not very deep. They look red and often have a lot of blood in them but no real tissue is damaged. These types of wounds usually occur from sliding along the pavement after a fall or from shaving.
The first thing you should do is stop the bleeding. Apply pressure with a sterile bandage or cloth and continue to apply pressure for at least five minutes. This will help prevent the risk of an infection.
After you have stopped the bleeding, wash the wound with soap and water or sterile water if you don’t have access to clean water. You should then bandage it and seek medical attention if the wound begins to show signs of infection such as redness, swelling, or pus.
Abrasions that are not taken care of can become seriously infected even if they don’t right away. It is important to keep the wound as germ free as possible. You can do this by keeping the bandage on at all times if you are able.
Burns, or thermal injuries, are a very common type of injury and can be extremely dangerous. They can range in degrees from first to fourth degree.
First-degree burns affect only the top layer of your skin and will cause redness and pain. These types of burns are also known as superficial burns and only require a cool compress to reduce pain and inflammation.
Skin that has second-degree burns will feel warm and appear doughy. The skin will not be in one solid color and will often be darker than the normal surrounding area.
Third-degree burns are often known as charring and go through the entire layer of skin. The skin will be dark in color and will often feel stiff and leathery.
Fourth-degree burns affect a person all the way to the bone and may even go into the internal organs. These types of burns will require skin grafts.
The most important thing to remember when treating a burn is to prevent it from getting infected. Whenever you are burned, dead skin and bacteria can easily collect in the burn site which can cause an infection. It is important to keep the area clean so you do not get an infection.
First, you should run the area under cool water for at least five minutes. Do not remove clothing that has stuck to your skin. Next, cover the burn with a dry cloth. Then, apply antibiotic ointment and wrap it with gauze or a clean cloth.
You should monitor the burn area for signs of infection which include redness, swelling, pus, or pain. If you begin to see signs of an infection seek medical attention right away.
Sprains and Strains:
Sprains and strains are general terms that are used to describe an injury to your muscles or tendons. A strain is a tear in a muscle or tendon, while a sprain is a tear in a ligament.
Treatment for these types of injuries is relatively simple and can often be done at home as long as you don’t do anything that would make it worse.
Rest is very important. The more you use the injured body part, the longer it will take to heal. It is recommended that you wrap the injury to keep it immobile.
Over the counter pain medication can help to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
Seek medical attention if your symptoms don’t improve in a few days or if they worsen.
Chipped or Fractured Bone:
Bone injuries are often some of the more severe injuries that we suffer in day to day life. These can often be very painful and limiting.
The most common types of bone injuries include fractures and breaks, which are both medical emergencies that require immediate treatment.
A fracture is a break in the bone that does not shatter or splinter the bone into multiple pieces. A broken bone (or multiple breaks) is also a medical emergency in which the bone has been shattered into multiple pieces.
The signs and symptoms of a bone injury include:
Swelling around the area
Bruising around the area
Loss of function (inability to move the body part)
Deformity of the body part if visible
Inability to bear weight on the body part without pain
Treatment for bone injuries include:
Ice. Ice can help to reduce swelling and pain. Never apply ice directly to the skin. Instead, use a wet paper towel to wrap the ice in.
Splint the injured body part to prevent any movement.
Over the counter pain medication. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Motrin or Advil can help to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. If you do not have these, you can also use Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol).
Seek medical attention immediately.
The most important thing to remember about bone injuries is that you need to seek medical attention right away! Delaying treatment can cause extensive and permanent damage.
Strains, sprains, broken bones, and chipped or fractured bones are all very common injuries that can happen to anyone at anytime. By treating these injuries quickly and appropriately you can limit the amount of time that they keep you from doing the things that you love.
Sports Injuries: Preventing the Common and Treating the Serious
The sports medicine industry is a huge one, worth billions of dollars every year. There’s no sign that it’s dying down, either, especially as more people take up active hobbies like running and cycling or any number of other recreational sports.
Sports injuries are a very real and ongoing risk for anyone who takes part in these activities. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than half of all Americans experience an injury each year. Of those injuries, about one-third of them happen while playing sports or engaging in recreational physical activity.
Luckily, most of these injuries are minor and can be taken care of with a few days of rest and some over-the-counter pain relievers. However, a smaller number of people experience more severe injuries each year that require a lot more immediate attention.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common sports injuries as well as what you can do if you find yourself experiencing any of these while playing your favorite sport or pursuing other forms of physical activity.
Common Sports Injuries
The types of injuries you’re likely to experience while taking part in a sport really depend on the type of sport in question. For instance, runners are very prone to experiencing injuries to their feet, legs, and back, while someone like a swimmer is more prone to experience respiratory issues.
Regardless of the type of sport or activity you participate in, there are some injuries that occur more commonly than others. In this section, we’ll look at some of the most common types of injuries and what you can do if you (or someone you’re with) experiences them.
A blister is a type of wound that involves the tearing of skin due to excessive stress or friction. This is very common among runners who experience a rubbing of the skin against their shoes with every step that they take. The rubbing and tearing of the skin results in an inflamed area filled with liquid. Oftentimes, a small piece of torn skin may appear in the blister as well.
Treatment consists mainly of making sure the blister doesn’t become infected. You can do this by keeping the area clean and applying an antibiotic ointment. Applying a bandage over the area can help protect it from further irritation while it heals. In some cases, tiny pieces of skin may have been torn off in the blister.
These may need to be removed by a medical professional so that they don’t become infected as well.
There are a few things you can do to prevent blisters from occurring. Taking the time to break in new shoes before your activity can help prevent them. Applying lubricating substances, such as petroleum jelly or sports creams, on the areas of skin that come into contact with the shoe can also help prevent friction and blistering. You can also try to wear multiple pairs of socks to cushion your feet and reduce rubbing.
Calluses are areas of skin that have thickened as a result of excessive rubbing or pressure. They’re often found on the hands of people who do a lot of manual labor or on the feet of people who do a lot of running. While calluses are generally harmless, they can sometimes become infected if proper sanitary measures are not taken.
The most common symptom of an infected callus is redness and swelling in the area. You may also experience pain, itching, or a discharge of pus from the affected area. If you think you have a callus or a corn (a hardened lump of dead skin) on your foot, make sure to keep the area clean by daily wiping it with soap and water. Never squeeze the callus or corn as this can introduce more bacteria into the skin and possibly cause an infection.
Try to keep the area as dry as possible. Finally, if the callus or corn does become infected, you’ll want to see a doctor to have it removed so that the area can heal.
A stress fracture occurs when there is an excessive weakening and eventual breakage of bone due to tension on the bone. This tension is often caused by physical activity. A stress fracture is a common sports injury and is also found among military recruits during boot camp.
The most common symptom of a stress fracture is bone pain during and after physical activity. The pain is often worse immediately following the activity, but may persist throughout the day. You may also experience a general feeling of tiredness, weakness, or overall discomfort. A doctor will be able to diagnose a stress fracture by taking a complete history of your injury and will then perform a physical examination with special attention to your bones.
An X-ray or other imaging tests may also be necessary.
The treatment for a stress fracture depends on the severity of the injury. In some cases rest and pain medication are all that is required. Other stress fractures may require surgery. It’s important to get proper treatment for a stress fracture so as to prevent the bone from becoming permanently damaged.
A tarsal coalition is a rare congenital anomaly in which two or more of the bones of the foot (the tarsals) fuse together while still in the womb.
The main symptom of a tarsal coalition is a rigid instep. There may also be limited motion in the foot. You may experience pain in the foot with the onset of active physical activity or prolonged standing, but the pain should subside when resting.
Tarsal coalitions are generally diagnosed during infancy or in childhood when a parent or doctor notices an abnormality in the structure of the foot. X-rays will confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for a tarsal coalition depends on the type and severity of the abnormality. In some cases, a coalition can be treated with a combination of physical therapy and custom orthotics (shoe inserts). Other cases may require surgery.
A heel spur is a projection of bone that develops on the inside of your heel bone (the calcaneus) as a result of stress or weakness in that area.
The main symptom of a heel spur is heel pain when walking or standing, especially first thing in the morning or after periods of rest. You may also experience pain on the inside of your foot or your arch may feel tender.
Pain caused by a heel spur can range from an annoying nuisance to severe and debilitating. Heel spurs do not tend to spread to other parts of the body and they do not tend to cause other medical problems.
Heel spurs are generally diagnosed with the help of a physical examination. In some cases an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan may be required.
Treatment for a heel spur depends on the severity of the condition and can include rest, pain medication, orthotics, steroid injections, or surgery. Surgical removal of part or all of the spur is usually reserved as a last resort since the spur may act to stabilize the calcaneus.
The following are some preventive measures for athletes to avoid injury:
There are a few main types of running patterns that are most common:
Pronation is the way in which your foot rolls as you walk or run, essentially how you step onto the ground. There are three types of pronation, and which one you have is mainly genetic, although certain things such as shoes can change the over or under pronation tendencies of your feet. There is a tendency to believe that over or under pronators have more injuries, but this is not necessarily true.
The three types of pronation are:
Achilles tendonitis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon. It can be either “acute”, occurring suddenly due to an injury, or “chronic”, occurring gradually over a period of time. The Achilles tendon is the connection between the gastrocnemius and the calcaneus (heel bone). Overuse of the Achilles can result in this condition.
Other risk factors include running uphill, increasing speed or intensity of exercise, orabolic steroids, and footwear (such as high-heeled shoes or unsupportive athletic shoes). It mainly affects middle-aged people.
The main symptom is pain at the back of the heel, especially when exercising or rising from a sitting position. Heel raises can be done to stretch the achilles tendon. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation are also commonly used treatments. Injections of steroids into the tendon or physical therapy may also be used.
If the condition does not improve, surgery may be required.
Haglund’s deformity is a bump just underneath the heel bone (calcaneus). The cause is unknown, although it is more common in women than men and in people who are overweight. For this reason, it is also known as “pump bump” or “pump deformity”.
An achilles tendon rupture (or Achilles tendon tear) is the tearing of the tendon that connects the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles to the calcaneus (heel bone). It is one of the most common injuries among athletes. The typical patient is a middle-aged man participating in explosive sports such as American football or sprinting. Achilles tendon ruptures usually occur from coming down on the tip of the foot and putting all of the body’s weight onto that front foot.
Rupture of the Achilles tendon is generally caused by a sudden twisting movement of the back foot, while the front foot is off the ground. Pain will be felt in the back of the heel after such an occurrence. The main symptom is the feeling that someone has hit the back of your heel with a hammer. A snapping sound may also have been heard at the time of injury.
Swelling will soon be visible and sharp pain will be felt when attempting to bear weight. Walking becomes difficult or impossible and there may be difficulty moving the toes.
The “keys” to early treatment of a rupture are the recognition of the problem and rapid initiation of R.I.C.E therapy (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).
The first 2-4 weeks after the injury are crucial and physical therapy should begin as soon as possible to regain lost motion and strength. Most ruptures heal well with time and physical therapy, but the loss of strength and flexibility can take up to a year to resolve. Surgical reconstruction is usually only necessary if there is severe damage to the connective tissue that surrounds the tendon. Most ruptures occur just beyond the attachment of the soleus muscle where it joins into the Achilles Tendon. It is unusual for the middle 1/3 or so of the tendon to rupture.
Rupture of the Achilles tendon has been described as “the most frustrating injury known to man”. A patient with an Achilles tendon rupture is at risk of developing a serious heel ulcer (injury to the bone) due to the inactivity required during the healing process.
The most common symptom is a popping sound when the injury occurs. There is immediate pain, swelling, and weakness in the ankle joint. Walking becomes difficult.
Rest, ice, elevation, and compression are often recommended as treatment options for this injury. There are also numerous surgical options available. Your doctor will help you decide which treatment option is best for you.
Tennis leg or peroneal tendonitis is an inflammation of the fibrous band on the outer part of the lower leg. It arises from overuse or sudden twisting of the foot. The cause is generally related to sports involving running and turning, such as tennis or soccer, hence the name “tennis leg”. However, it can occur in non-athletes as a result of too much vigorous exercise or running on hard or uneven surfaces.
The most common symptom is pain and/or swelling felt on the outer part of the lower leg. There may be stiffness or aching pain at the back of the knee. This condition generally affects runners or athletes but can also occur in non-athletes who have done a lot of running, especially if they run on hard or uneven surfaces.
The best way to treat this is prevention. Rest, ice, and over the counter pain medication can help. Doctor prescribed anti-inflammatory medication may also be taken. Night splints are sometimes recommended to stretch the tendon while you sleep.
Tibial neuralgia is most commonly caused by repetitive stress to the tibia, most often due to running or jumping. It is also related to sports that require a lot of quick starts and stops such as basketball or football. It is caused by the irritation or compression of the sensory and motor nerves in the lower leg. This irritation can cause an intermittent sharp pain, tingling, or numbness in the area.
The pain may also be present in between the knee and ankle and can be felt in the foot as well. The best way to treat this condition is to rest, ice, and over the counter pain medication. Anti-inflammatory medication and night splints may also help relieve some of the symptoms. Physical therapy is also recommended to learn new exercises that do not aggravate the condition. In more severe cases, doctors may recommend injections of corticosteroids or local anesthetics to the area that is irritating the nerve. In rare cases surgery may be needed.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome (TTS) is a disorder affecting the nerves in the foot. It causes pain, numbness, and burning in the foot and between the toes. It is caused by pressure on the bottom of the foot that can interrupt or even cut off blood flow to the nerves in the foot. This can be due to a fracture, arthritis, fractures, tumors, osteochondromas, or an improperly fitted or damaged shoe.
It can also occur from an inflamed vein (superficial thrombophlebitis) or lymph vessel on the back of the foot.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed by a health care provider examining the patient’s neurological and vascular functions in the feet. There are certain tests that can be done to confirm the diagnosis. X-rays, MRI, or CT-scans of the foot can eliminate other potential causes of the symptoms.
The best way to treat this condition is to wear properly fitted shoes, avoid activities that cause trauma to the feet, and take over the counter pain medication. Cortisone shots or anti-inflammatory medication may also help. If the symptoms are severe doctors may recommend surgery or a custom orthotic.
Tennis Elbow is a condition in which the tendons that control the wrist extensors (the muscles that straighten out the wrist and fingers) become inflamed. The pain is felt on the outside of the elbow and can occur on either side. This condition is most commonly caused by trauma or repeated use of the forearm muscles. This can be due to sports that involve repetitive wrist motions such as tennis, baseball, swimming, or carpentry.
Other causes include falling on the outstretched hand, having the wrist bent back, or carrying heavy objects.
Tennis elbow is diagnosed with a health care provider’s physical examination. X-rays are usually performed to rule out a fracture.
Rest, ice, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), physiotherapy, or corticosteroid injections can all be used to treat this condition. In rare cases, surgery may be needed.
Hammertoe is a condition in which one of the small joints of the foot curls downward causing the toe to bend into an awkward position. The big toe is most commonly affected. This condition causes pain, redness, and swelling in the affected joint. The joint may become stiff or locked into an abnormal position and is usually quite painful to walk on.
Hammertoe most commonly occurs in middle-aged or older people and is caused by wearing shoes that are too small or narrow or from a toe that has been damaged due to an injury. In some cases the cause is rarely identified.
Treatment for hammertoe is determined by how severe the condition is and can include padding, splint to keep the toe in position and prevent further damage, surgery to release contracted tissue or remove bone spurs, or in extreme cases amputation of the digit.
Trench foot is a condition that occurs from a prolonged exposure of the feet to damp or wet conditions such as standing or walking in wet socks or boots. It is most commonly caused by prolonged exposure to wet feet in cold weather. The feet become pale, cold, and numb and can result in loss of the entire foot.
The condition can be prevented by changing into dry socks at the first sign of wetness and wet shoes, moving away from wet or damp areas, drying wet feet, and keeping clothing and sleeping bags dry. Treatment consists of moving out of wet conditions and changing into dry clothing and footwear. Hot drinks and slowly warming the feet can also help. In more extreme cases, fluid replacement and anti-diarrheal medication may be required.
Trench foot was a common injury among soldiers during World War I due to the prolonged wet conditions of the trenches. It has been reported to occur in civilians during World War II as a result of the bombing raids on London where people were trapped in wet basements for several days.
A frostbite is the destruction of tissue due to the freezing of a body part. The most commonly affected body parts are the fingers, toes, ears, and noses. It can also affect skin and underlying tissue such as muscle, blood vessels, and bones.
Frostbite most commonly affects people who work in extreme cold. These include outdoor workers such as mountain climbers, ski instructors, and laborers as well as medical conditions such as frostbite can occur in homeless people. People who are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs and have reduced sensation are also at risk. The condition can also occur in people trapped in a cold environment such as an avalanche.
Frostbite results in a loss of feeling and color in affected areas as well as tissue becoming hard or firm. It can also lead to blistering, swelling, and ulcers. Frostbite is occasionally complicated by an infection with bacteria, which may cause gas gangrene.
Treatment for frostbite consists of moving the affected body part to a warm environment, protecting it from further damage, and slowly rewarming the area. In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove dead tissue. The outlook is good if proper care is promptly received.
Since ancient times, foot binding was practiced among the upper class of Chinese society. In this ritual, young girls had their feet bound in order to achieve the smallest and most dainty feet possible.
The practice of foot binding began among the royal courts in 10th century China, and soon became widespread among upper class families. The rationale was that a girl with very small feet would not be able to walk, and would therefore be unable to leave her home or have any sort of independent movement. This made marriage into more of a demand as women with unbound feet were less desirable to the point where it became a status symbol for elite men to marry women with bound feet.
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