Burns of the Foot

Recently it was revealed that Chicago Bulls player Bobby Portis played the last two months with a third degree burn on the top of his foot. The burn happened from a heating pack that was put on the top of the foot. Portis did not feel the burn happening until it was too late. Burns on the foot can be difficult to treat given the need to wear shoes and protect the site and due to the thin layer of skin over the top of the foot.


Burns are divided into a few categories based on their severity

  1. First Degree Burn:

    A burn involving only the outer layer of skin. It may cause some localized redness, swelling, and pain at the site of the burn. These are generally treated by running the burned area under cool water for 5-10 minutes. Aloe Vera cream can be helpful for these types of burns and over the counter anti-inflammatory medications can be used for pain relief.  If you have a first-degree burn over a large area you should still seek medical attention.

  2. Second Degree Burn:

    A burn involving the top layer and the deeper underlying layer of skin called the dermis. These usually cause blistering and pain. A second-degree burn is more serious but if the burn is small it may be treated just like a first-degree burn. A second-degree burn may blister. Do not break any small blisters; if blisters do break, gently cleanse the area and apply a band-aid or bandage with antibacterial ointment. If the burn is larger than a few inches or is on a sensitive area like the hands, face, feet, or groin region you should seek medical attention.

  3. Third Degree Burn:

    A serious burn that involves all layers of the skin and extends into the deeper underlying tissue. Muscle and bone can be affected by this kinda burn. These always require medical attention and if over a large area, can be life-threatening and should be taken very seriously.

We frequently see burns on the foot in our practice at Kansas City Foot and Ankle. Generally, burns on the foot involve scalding type injuries from either dropping hot liquid or water on the foot, but they can occur from significant sunburns or heating pads as in Portis’ situation. If you have suffered a minor burn or first-degree burn to your foot, we would recommend the treatment described above. If the burned area is any larger than a few inches, particularly if the burn is blistering or significantly painful, it should be evaluated by a physician. We would encourage prevention and if cooking or boiling water, always have shoes on. Further, never sleep with a heating pad on at night as this can result in large, severe burns. Wear sunblock to avoid sunburns, and if you feel yourself burning, get to a shady area and avoid additional exposure.

If you have sustained a burn to your foot that you are concerned about, contact the physicians at Kansas City Foot and Ankle today at 816-943-1111 for an evaluation as soon as possible.