How to Treat a Burn on the Top of the Foot

A burn to the top of the foot can be caused by contact with hot water or grease, from chemicals that fall on the foot or any hot object that touches the sensitive top surface of the foot. If circulation in the area is compromised, as it often is in diabetics and those with peripheral vascular disease, it may easily become infected. In all cases careful cleaning and keeping the site moist with a clear, non-caustic creme and covered will allow healing to happen.

Immerse the site into cool water. Do not use ice water because it can cause frost bite according to the University of Utah College of Medicine. Soak the foot in water and a small amount of mild soap. Then use a soft washcloth and remove any loose skin or debris. This helps prevent the build up of fluid and infection under the burned skin.

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Dry the foot gently by blotting with a clean cloth and apply a liberal layer of antibiotic or pain relieving ointment. Do not use petroleum jelly or body lotion. Apply an adhesive bandage large enough to cover the burn with a border of healthy skin all around. Do not wrap the foot because this reduces circulation, but do change the dressing twice a day until the tissue is well-healed

Wear a soft, loose white sock wearing shoes that will not put pressure on the site. It will take three to six days to heal a first-degree burn—a red, painful burn that blanches when you press on on it.

Second-degree burns, which blister and are swollen, usually heal in two to three weeks. Third-degree burns, which look white and show the layers below the surface, can take many weeks to heal and should be treated by a physician, according to the guidelines of the American Academy of Family Practice 2.

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Elevate the foot above your heart as often as possible to decrease swelling and walk on it to prevent the accumulation of fluid and promote healing. Ibuprofen, taken until the swelling is gone, will also take away pain and is recomended by the AAFP.


Go to the emergency room if the burn goes around the entire foot or if it is deeper than just the surface skin.