How do I treat a leg wound?

Many minor leg injuries can be treated at home.

The proper way to treat a leg injury will depend on many factors, including the type of injury and its severity. Small wounds may just need to be cleaned and covered, while more serious ones will need stitches and sometimes even surgery to allow for proper healing. All wounds will likely need to be disinfected with an antiseptic and packaged to prevent any foreign bodies from entering the wound.

More serious injuries and insect bites may require stitches.

In most cases, it is acceptable to treat a very small wound at home. This includes minor cuts and scrapes, sprains and bruises. Cuts or scrapes should be treated with an antiseptic to kill any bacteria that may be in the area, and then covered with a bandage to keep out dirt and other materials. Sprains should be wrapped with a cloth bandage and as little weight as possible applied to the injured leg until the pain and swelling has subsided. Bruises usually do not require treatment, but if they take time to heal, a doctor should be consulted.

A person wearing plaster.

A healthcare provider will need to treat a more serious leg injury to prevent further injury and allow for proper healing. Fractures, or broken bones, are diagnosed on an X-ray machine and need to be reset with a cast. Only a trained professional can put on and remove a cast.

If the leg wound is a serious cut, a puncture wound, or an insect bite, you may need stitches to help the opening heal properly. A cloth dressing will likely also be applied. Daily cleaning is usually necessary to prevent infections and a doctor or nurse will show you how to clean and repair your wound. An insect bite may require an antivenom for venomous bites along with a bandage if the area is inflamed or open.

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Small wounds should first be cleaned with soap and water.

In some cases, a wound can become infected. Signs of infection include redness, burning, heat and pain at the site, and pus may also be present. When this occurs, the area needs to be thoroughly cleaned and antibiotics may be prescribed. This will help prevent the infection from spreading to healthy tissue and kill invading bacteria to cure the existing infection. These symptoms should be taken seriously, even with a minor injury, because the spread of infection can sometimes result in amputation or permanent disability.

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