The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Beware Fish Hook Foot Puncture Wounds This Summer, Warn NY Podiatrists

Posted by on Monday, August 10th, 2015


Summer is a great time for fishing, whether you frequent one of the beautiful local New York beaches or head down south for more competitive sport fishing. New York podiatrists recommend wearing thick-soled water shoes when out on the beach and taking special care to watch where you’re walking. “A foot puncture wound is a very, very nasty thing,” states Dr. Ryan Minara from The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC. “Fishing hooks don’t just hit the surface-level skin. By design, these tools are made to hang on and not let go. They often tangle up in nerves, tendons, ligaments and even bones to make for a really painful, tricky situation,” he explains. We can’t tell you the exact specifics on NY beaches, but CBS News reports retrieving 81 fishing hooks from the neighboring New Jersey shoreline.1 That’s a lot of potential foot injuries!

foot puncture wound
Be careful out on the beach, warn NY doctors. Don’t get hooked like this poor fish! Image Source:

Surfer Recalls Gnarly Hook Foot Injury

Brent Bielmann is an avid surfer, fisherman, and photographer. He recently posted a gruesome video and photo of his fishing hook foot puncture wound on GrindTV. 2 X-rays revealed that the hook had deeply embedded into the toe bones, so it was determined that the hook would have to be pushed through, rather than pulled out. “It was really painful, like, a gnarly electric shock going up through my leg. They put some anesthesia in my foot, but it actually made it hurt worse; apparently there are a lot of nerves in the foot,” Bielmann recalled. Following the incident, he still has a deep soreness inside his foot, but he’s thankful there wasn’t a larger wound or serious foot infection to contend with on top of it all.

Secondary Infection Is Biggest Risk of Puncture Wounds

Down south, fish hook injuries have been keeping Myrtle Beach doctors busy this summer with more than a dozen puncture wounds at one clinic alone. The possibility of infection is the biggest danger of a fishing hook injury. “Usually if you are in the water, they are already secondary infected,” Cornell Caviness, a Physician Assistant for Doctor’s Care in Surfside Beach in NC, told WMBF News.3 “These things become filled with pus, and they need to be treated with antibiotics,” he adds. Doctors also advise people to ask for a tetanus shot every 10 years to minimize risk of fatal blood infections that may result from these types of injuries.4 Patients whose health is already compromised in some way — diabetes in particular can prevent prompt healing of the wound — should be especially careful with puncture wounds to avoid infection.

Treating Puncture Wounds in NYC

Unfortunately, fishing hooks are not like chunks of glass or nails that are possible to extract on your own. The back hook design and jagged edges can really rip through your anatomy, and are designed to be difficult to pull back out. Furthermore, puncture wounds carry an increased danger of infection, especially in the foot. If you have the misfortune of stepping on a hook, you need to seek emergency medical attention immediately. Our New York office is available to help with acute injuries at 212-996-1900 in Manhattan or 914-328-3400 in Westchester. We will take diagnostic imaging to determine the extent of your injury, give you anesthetic to numb the pain as best we can, treat your foot with antibiotics,  and take care of you during rehabilitation.







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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.