Doctors say fish hook foot injuries on the rise - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Doctors say fish hook foot injuries on the rise

When fishers cast a line into the ocean, they are hoping to make a catch, but some beach-goers say what is on the end of those fishing poles is actually hooking them. When fishers cast a line into the ocean, they are hoping to make a catch, but some beach-goers say what is on the end of those fishing poles is actually hooking them.
"People should probably use water shoes if they are out there, especially the little ones, and just be very aware of your surroundings when you are out there walking, " stressed Cornell Caviness, a Physician Assistant for Doctor's Care in Surfside Beach. "People should probably use water shoes if they are out there, especially the little ones, and just be very aware of your surroundings when you are out there walking, " stressed Cornell Caviness, a Physician Assistant for Doctor's Care in Surfside Beach.
Employees that work at the 2nd Avenue Pier in Myrtle Beach, say they have seen fish hook injuries all too often. Employees that work at the 2nd Avenue Pier in Myrtle Beach, say they have seen fish hook injuries all too often.
"Just be careful. Sharks, forget that, it's the fish hooks that are in the ocean," Tamara Michael said laughingly. "Just be careful. Sharks, forget that, it's the fish hooks that are in the ocean," Tamara Michael said laughingly.
Caviness said if not treated properly, the injury can lead to a more serious infection. Caviness said if not treated properly, the injury can lead to a more serious infection.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A small danger hidden in the sands of the beach can be a big pain if not careful. Doctors at urgent care clinics in the Myrtle Beach area say fish hooks have been keeping them busy this summer.

When fishers cast a line into the ocean, they are hoping to make a catch, but some beach-goers say what is on the end of those fishing poles is actually hooking them.

Tamara Michael was visiting Myrtle Beach for the weekend from Winston-Salem, North Carolina with two foreign students from Wake Forest University. Michael says the students were enjoying the beach waves, one of the students suddenly screamed, "I'm hooked!"

"I thought she meant something bit, her like a crab," explained Michael. She said the student told her she couldn't move because there was a hook with a string.

Michael said it wasn't until girl painfully pulled the hook out of her foot, that she was able to move freely. "I saw what happened, and she did have a fish hook between her toes, her big toe and the one next to it."

Michael said they received treatment at an urgent care clinic. "They soaked her foot in an antibiotic solution for half an hour to make sure nothing was in there."

Employees that work at the 2nd Avenue Pier in Myrtle Beach, say they have seen fish hook injuries all too often. "I have seen people get fish hooks in their feet, in their arms, hands, a lot of people walking on the pier and barefoot on the pier," said Paul Nelepa.

Nelepa said the fish hook equipment that is found in the sand mostly comes from pier fishing, and from people fishing on the beach. "Lines break, they can get caught up in the reef, also people cut them. The hooks will sit for a while before they start moving with the current of the ocean," Nelepa explained.

City of Myrtle Beach Spokesman Mark Kruea said for this problem and other reasons, fishing is not allowed near swimmers or during busy swim times.
Fishers are allowed out early in the morning or in the evening. Kruea said the city also prohibits aquatic activity within 75 yards of a pier.

Doctors at several urgent care clinics in Myrtle Beach say this summer, they have seen a higher number of fish hook foot injuries. One clinic tells WMBF News they have seen more than a dozen.

"People should probably use water shoes if they are out there, especially the little ones, and just be very aware of your surroundings when you are out there walking, " stressed Cornell Caviness, a Physician Assistant for Doctor's Care in Surfside Beach.

Caviness said if not treated properly, the injury can lead to a more serious infection. "If they don't get it treated, usually if you are in the water, they are already secondary infected - these things become filled with pus, and they need to be treated with antibiotics," he said.

Michael said her student had to undergo an x-ray. "They also soaked her foot in an antibiotic solution for half an hour to make sure nothing was in there," she added.

She says the entire experience was painful, it took away their time for enjoying the beach, and she had a medical bill. Michael said, "It was surprising, I have gone into the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico many times and have never experienced nothing like this." She hopes her story will be a warning to others.

"Just be careful. Sharks, forget that, it's the fish hooks that are in the ocean," she said laughingly.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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