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Pus filled wound appeared on foot after injury. What should I do to remove the pus?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1528 Questions
I have a hard layer of pus on the bend of my foot and leg after an injury earlier last week. I was instructed by my doctor to remove the pus to allow the wound to heal. She said soap and water would suffice. After 3 tries the pus has not come off. Is there anything i can do to soften it and make it easier to remove besides simply scrubbing it?
Posted Mon, 4 Mar 2013 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 1 hour later
Thanks for posting your query.
Pus on a wound is formed when the wound is infected with bacteria. It is usually associated with swelling and pain too. On the other hand a non infected traumatic wound can develop minimal whitish or yellowish slough during healing which is adherent and there is no or negligible pain and swelling . Such slough turns into scab ( black or brown) and allows faster wound healing . It need not be removed.
I assume your doctor has examined your wound and advised accordingly. If no , then you need to get it examined by your doctor first for appropriate treatment .If yes, then try the following tips for treating a pus filled open wound:
1.Cleaning the wound . Use mild soap and water.
Gently dab the wound with hydrogen peroxide to remove any clotted blood/ pus.
Do not scrub the wound.Running water can help remove dirt.Clean foot wounds three to four times a day.
Wear an open shoe.
Dry the wound gently, and completely, with a clean towel or gauze.
2. To prevent/ treat infection
Apply antibiotic ointment like mupirocin or fusidic acid .
3.Cover the wound if large or oozing .Use gauze or light surgical dressing
Keep the wound clean and dry.If the wound is small it can be left open .
Hope I have answered your query.
I'll be available for any follow up queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Pus filled wound appeared on foot after injury. What should I do to remove the pus? 14 hours later
Thank you for your response, Dr. However, the problem that I am having is that when i try to clean the wound and remove the pus, i have a hard time getting it to come off because it is thick and it's stuck on there very tight. I would like to know if you have any recommendations on how to soften it so that it is easier to remove. I have attached a photo of the wound. Hopefully that helps.
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 4 hours later
Thanks for the follow up.
Yes you have a infected open wound with adherent slough and pus and dead necrotic tissue ( black area).I would recommend getting a cleaning and dressing done by a doctor or any health care professional rather than self cleaning with soap and water . As I already mentioned hydrogen peroxide can be poured on the wound while cleaning which softens the slough and helps in removing it.
Betadene solution or betadine scrub liquid are also used along with it to help clean an infected wound.
You can use a sterile cotton gauze piece to gently scrub it during cleaning.
After cleaning an antibiotic ointment should be applied and the wound covered lightly with cotton gauze / roller bandage.
However if the wound has been worsening or showing no improvement even after a week then I would recommend its best to take a course of oral antibiotic like Cefixime etc.
If still you are unable to clean the wound then it requires debridement wherein your doctor might remove or scrape off the dead tissue/ pus with surgical instruments and freshen the edges to help in faster healing.
So please do get it evaluated by your doctor in time .
I assume you are a non diabetic , if not sure then get your blood sugar checked since diabetics are more prone to have non healing wounds which are prone to complications.
Hope I have answered your query.
Let me know if you have any further doubts.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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