The worst place to cut your foot.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups started the topic in Monday, 2 Mar 2020 at 11:37am

About three weeks ago I cut my back foot on the side right where my board bump is. Every time I do a turn, especially on my backhand I roll my back foot slightly and it rubs on my board bump. Under normal circumstances this doesn't cause any issues. However, if you slice some skin off your foot right on the board bump you're basically stuffed for at least two weeks until the thing heals. Any attempt to surf beforehand causes pain and makes the wound worse. Over the years I've tried waterproof dressings, duct-tape, booties etc and nothing works. Two weeks out of the water is the only cure. What's worse is that for me wearing work boots delays the healing process further as it rubs on the side of the boot. I think every surfer knows this issue.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Tuesday, 3 Mar 2020 at 5:59am

I'd consider the remote South Pacific atolls one of the worst places to cut your foot. 

Oh.. hang on.. 

Seriously, that sounds terrible. It's amazing how even tiny cuts can crater quickly and then persist for weeks or months. I had a long term ulcer on the little toe of my front foot (originally from a reef scrape) that dragged across the deck every time I stood up. I was fortunate enough to be able to wear thongs daily so it could heal during a spell of poor surf.. otherwise, who knows how long it could have hung around for.

Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups commented Tuesday, 3 Mar 2020 at 6:32am

Actually the cutting your foot while surfing over coral thing was my subtext. Why don't people wear booties when surfing over coral these days? Just seems dumb to me. If you wipe out you can't put your feet down and thus if it's shallow you get your back shredded. It only takes one little nick on your foot and you're pretty much fucked.

Ray Shirlaw's picture
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Ray Shirlaw commented Tuesday, 3 Mar 2020 at 9:09am

Yeh what happened to the rip curl BaliBoots style booties from the 80s? Judjing by the billions of discarded footwear& cheap rubber in indonesia ,its a wonder some brainiac isn't making&selling them there . A mate used Goldenseal( a brown powder) to cure a volcano sized sea ulcer on the top of his foot many years ago. It didn't involve Not Surfing and was better than anything his doctor tried. Times may have changed though& stuff like Bactroban etc might be just as effective now.

Womble123's picture
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Womble123 commented Tuesday, 3 Mar 2020 at 9:12am

you can still get the boots - i've always preferred the split toe version but very few people wear them and you see so many guys with cut feet

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Tuesday, 3 Mar 2020 at 9:26am

@Spuddups,

I can't surf in booties at all. Can't feel the board, can't move my feet, every session it feels like I've been bodysnatched by a 40 year old Russian learner. So I have to make do. Years ago, Quik made boardies with a pocket that ran around the waist at the back for stuffing zinc or water and I put booties in there, or sometimes I tied them around my neck once I cleared the reef.

Speaking of...

Few weeks back I cut my foot at the local, and also stepped on an urchin, one of the spikes going up inside the cut, lodging well inside my toe. It was on the pad of my big toe. I tried to dig the urchin out to no avail, but the cut was trying to heal, and at the same time infecting every morning. I'd squeeze the pad and pus would splurt out but the spike was too deep to come with it.

In fact, it was so deep, when the toe infected it was more red and swollen on the top of my toe than the bottom.

Last weekend I nutted it up, necked a codeine, then sliced the almost healed cut open again and began rummaging around in the very lower dermis levels till I got the damn spike out. 

The relief!

The cut has to heal again but there's no longer that deep, persistent ache that quickly sharpens when I put weight on it.

Dowdy's picture
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Dowdy commented Tuesday, 3 Mar 2020 at 9:36am

Gee that made for uncomfortable reading. I stood on a sea urchin years ago, had heaps of the little fuckers in sole of my foot. Got pissed and had a mate dig around to get them out with tweezers. Quite literally a prick of a thing to happen.

surfstarved's picture
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surfstarved commented Tuesday, 3 Mar 2020 at 11:30am

First time I surfed Lennox Point I came back in too far down towards town and ended up with a dozen snapped off urchin points in my feet. Went to the doc that afternoon and he dug them all out - or so we thought. Two weeks later and it was getting progressively more painful to put weight on my left foot. I had a bit of a dig around with a needle and after a good tooth-gritting squeeze, out popped a centimetre long shard of urchin spine, lubricated with about a teaspoon's-worth of pus. As you said Stu, the relief!

Don't let the bastards grind you down

Island Bay's picture
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Island Bay commented Tuesday, 3 Mar 2020 at 11:49am

Yeah, I have my little tree at Lennox which is my cut-off point for coming in. Beyond that, I do another lap.

Spud, it sucks what you have. I thought it had pretty well healed by now. Better get it in shape before your trip!

Barrel Daithwaite's picture
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Barrel Daithwaite commented Tuesday, 3 Mar 2020 at 4:49pm

I've had success with an urchin spine that I tried to get out in the pad of my toe by soaking the foot in vinegar for an hour or so. Apparently it dissolves it a little and made it slip out by squeezing it which didn't work the previous times I tried.

Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups commented Tuesday, 3 Mar 2020 at 7:42pm

Stu, you’re on the Tweed Coast right? Never really gets cold enough to need booties there in winter so I guess it’s bare feet all year round. Different where I’m from. 6 months of the year we’re in booties so you just have to get used to it. For the first week or two you feel like a kook but after that it’s all good. I guess I’m saying that I can understand your reluctance to wear them.
RE urchin spines, I was in Krui one year and I stepped on one of the buggers. Got about four spines embedded in my foot. Spent an hour or two with a needle hacking the shit out of my foot trying to get them out. Then this German guy turns up with some peroxide. We got some of that shit in there and next thing the spines are bubbling away like crazy. By hickory sticks, it worked a charm. No more spines!
Island Bay, the foot’s all good now. That’s one positive about living somewhere with inconsistent surf aye: you get time for things to heal.

Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups commented Tuesday, 3 Mar 2020 at 7:27pm

Oh yeah, Lennox Head, gotta be one of the worst places to get in and out of the surf anywhere aye.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Tuesday, 3 Mar 2020 at 7:48pm

Nah Spud, Ben's on the Tweed Coast but I work remotely from down in the Illawarra south of Sydney. There are a few crew down here that get around in booties and hoods in the dead of winter.

Some good tips here RE urchin spikes. Gonna try vinegar or hydrogen peroxide next time I get jabbed.

Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups commented Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020 at 6:10am

Sounds like you're living the dream Stu.

etarip's picture
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etarip commented Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020 at 9:15am

Had to see a doc to have urchin spine dug out of my palm a few years back after getting pitched surfing a crappy reef in Cronulla (WP). It had gone in, snapped off then the skin had closed neatly over it. What surprised me was the length - about 2cm - and the instant relief when they got it out.
Also reinforced the value of putting your hands in front of your face when getting pitched / rag dolled.

I focus's picture
I focus's picture
I focus commented Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020 at 9:27am

Punched a hole in one foot and urchin spines in the other low tide North West 1980 plus had bark of everywhere after a long campaign.

So out come the "Mercurochrome" dried the foot after each surf and applied by the litre and kept surfing.

Actually healed up beautifully but still have the spines in my foot to this day but did lose control of a volcano on my knee.

A quack in Carnarvon that I knew had a red hot crack at digging the spines out using x rays and over sized drawing pins stuck into my foot as markers no anestezia.

He apologized afterwards noting it must have been uncomfortable.

Pops's picture
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Pops commented Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020 at 10:02am

I turned my big toe into a urchin pincushion years ago surfing white rock as a grom. Spent a few hours that night digging the spines out with tweezers (bad idea - they crush up into little bits - had to then use a needle to dig the bits out). Thought I'd got them all out - nothing obvious left up to about half an inch's depth, though still had some bruise-type pain.

A few weeks later, I got hit square on the toe by a cricket ball (not out, outside leg). The pain was outrageous, not at all in line with the slow speed of the ball. Once I got out, ripped my boot off and noticed a small white dot on the end of my toe - and remembered the urchin. Sterilized a needle with boiling water and started digging a crater around that spot. A couple of cm in, and I could see a little black spot. Dug a bit further, then got the tweezers (rubber tipped ones this time; learned from my earlier mistake) and managed to get a grip on the tip of the black spot. Pulled... out popped about an inch's worth of spine, and sweet relief. That must have been the last of it, thought I.

Two years later I badly stubbed my toe, ripping the top off. There, sticking out the end where the toetip used to be was another half inch of spine.

Crazy how deep those buggers can get, and crazy how well you can heal around them!

He who hesitates is lost

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020 at 10:43am

yeah exactly.

I got a foot full a year or so ago.

thought I got most of them out.

6 months later, noticed a little pimple with a head on the top of my foot.

squeezed it and out popped a little black dot. Pulled it and it was an inch worth of urchin spine.

had gone the full width of my foot ....and I didn't feel it.

now I don't bother digging around too much. just let them heal and eventually they pop to the surface. pull 'em out then.

Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups commented Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020 at 10:58am

Glad you let us know that it was not out Pops. I would have had to ask otherwise. Cricket tragics of the world unite. Ha Ha!

Pops's picture
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Pops commented Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020 at 10:58am

It's the little details that count ;)

He who hesitates is lost

Craig's picture
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Craig commented Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020 at 12:03pm

I've found that drawing paste works similar in drying out the skin and allowing it to come more to the surface and be plucked.

Also re small cuts turning into sea ulcers, I'm dealing with that often. Similar with stubbed toes, but been a year or two since I've had a bad one of them.

My trick on the foot is to bandaid it up, wrap with tape and then put on a bootie. Keeps it healing and not getting routed out. Only need on for a week or so and it's good to go. Other parts of the body are harder as you can't keep them covered.

Pops's picture
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Pops commented Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020 at 12:30pm

Had some really bad ulcers from fin blisters when I was a grom going through an ill-advised booger phase - ended up eating through my ankles to the bone. Few months trying various antibiotics etc to no avail, manuka honey ended up being thing that worked there.

He who hesitates is lost

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020 at 12:41pm

huge believer in the Manuka honey, wet wound management.

zero ulcers for years.

Look into it Craig.

Craig's picture
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Craig commented Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020 at 12:47pm

Yeah, good to know, and I haven't had a bad ulcer for years, but many cuts that linger and get deeper over a few weeks before healing.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020 at 12:53pm

the modus operandi of Manuka honey is that the compounds are both anti-microbial and also conducive to new skin cell growth.

that differentiates it from betadine or other anti-microbials which prevent infection but also slow wound healing.

there's some strong scientific evidence out there now to prove efficacy.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020 at 12:58pm

I’ve found Manuka very effective on wounds. Good advice for applying it to sea ulcers...they can be stubborn.

velocityjohnno's picture
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velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020 at 5:28pm

And here I've just been eating it... :P

cheers for the tips