Stingray Injury


What treatment did you receive for your stingray injury? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Jim, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 31

I must have stepped on a stingray in Hilton Head. Intense pain; felt like an electric shock that radiated through my entire foot. I initially thought it was a jellyfish sting, so I rubbed a couple handfuls of sand on it while I was still in the water. The wound was on the inside of my arch. The bleeding stopped after I sat and elevated my foot and flushed it with bottled water. Once home, I soaked it in hot water, took ibuprofen, which did nothing, and then Benadryl, which provided 100 percent relief.

Comment from: Kris, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 09

Two nights ago (8/1/21), while vacationing with family in Port Aransas, Texas, I was stung by a stingray while floating on a body board. Applying pressure eventually stopped the bleeding but the already severe pain kept increasing. Unable to walk, I was taken to an emergency room (ER) about 30 minutes away. By then I thought I was going to pass out from the pain. They submerged my foot in scalding hot water and then took X-rays which were clear. My foot was very swollen. They prescribed antibiotics.

Comment from: C , 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 28

I had my EHL (extensor hallucis longus) tendon severed by the stingray, with a through-my-foot puncture. I had stitches, and the hot water worked for immediate pain. I had to open back up to attempt tendon repair.

Comment from: AJ, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

I went to La Jolla, San Diego where my grandparents lived. My brother and I are real ocean lovers and are raised near the beach in Holland. After a couple of steps in the water it felt Like a crab cut right between my toes, but then, seconds later I had the feeling I couldn’t breathe anymore. I was bleeding heavily from the stingray injury and went back on land. The lifeguard didn’t help me at all. Back in Holland I went multiple times to the hospitable and got different kinds of antibiotics. My foot got super swollen!

Comment from: Nomorerays, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 28

I was stung by a stingray at Torrey Pines State Beach, and pain level 100 immediately. The sting severed a vein, so lots of bleeding. The pain was manageable after repeatedly soaking in hot water. After 1 week my foot swelled up like a football, and I was off to the emergency room for the second time. X-ray didn’t reveal barbs, but an MRI did; surgery was the next step. Two months later another surgery as they didn’t find all the barbs the first time. Six months of agony and permanent nerve damage; hurts just writing about it!

Comment from: shmaniel, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: July 24

I got stung by a stingray yesterday in Venice, California, on the outside of my foot. The wound was a 1/2 inch deep and spilling a lot of blood. I had a lot of pain that radiated through my entire foot all the way up to my ankle. I got out of the water and was helped by the lifeguards who soaked it in hot water to mitigate pain. After about an hour I went home, cleaned the wound with disinfectant, and put Neosporin on. One day later it is a bit swollen but looks fine. Seems I got away lucky - hope it heals well!

Comment from: roy, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: June 30

I have been reading through all the comments on stingray injury to see if I could add anything to it. I can't say that I can. Everything I read is what I experienced. In my military career I have been shot and stabbed. I passed a kidney stone. And last I got several tattoos. Nothing comes close to the pain after I got hit by a stingray. These peaceful creatures sure got a heck of a defense. In my case I ended up soaking for 5 hours in scalding water. While in the water it took the pain nearly away. The worst experience in my life.

Comment from: beachlover, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 26

I was stung in by a stingray in Madeira Beach, Florida, in between my toes. It has been hard to heal it because of the placement of the wound, which is the entire inside of my pinky toe. The laceration was about 1/4 inch deep. It looked like I stepped on glass, but the pain was very different. Week 2, the skin over the laceration has peeled off, leaving a large area that needs to heal. It has been 3 weeks, and keeping a hard scab in between the toes is the challenge. It’s frustrating as it is a large area at 1/8 inch deep now.

Comment from: KCR, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 06

I was stung by a stingray during the COVID-19 pandemic on a deserted beach. My care centered on keeping me out of busy emergency rooms. I texted my doctor pictures of my blueish foot and over the phone he prescribed preventative antibiotics and a tetanus booster. No x-rays or aid in cleaning out the wound. I got home to a hot bath as quickly as I could, then covered it with a paste made of bentonite clay and antibacterial ointment under a bandage. Monitoring closely for complications (or stinger inside).


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Comment from: Hbkook925, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: December 31

I was stung by a stingray at Bolsa Chica state beach right between my second and third toe. I knew instantly what happened and saw it swimming away thrashing its tail around as I tried not falling to my knees. I was worried about landing on it. I had to drag my surfboard to my car and was able to flag a lifeguard down. Hot water soak for an hour or so and most of the pain was gone. Went to urgent Care and they offered tetanus shot and antibiotics for 7 days. After 10 days it's finally almost healed.

Comment from: Justin Case, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: October 14

I got stung on the heel whilst surfing at Sunset Beach, California. I was not sure what it was at first but it was incredibly painful. I removed the barb whilst in the water and hobbled back to my apartment. I showered off and put my foot in very warm water for about one and a half hours. I was able to walk around after that with mild pain and discomfort.

Comment from: Kathy , 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 28

I was stung on my foot and slashed on my foot by a stingray four days ago. The pain was the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. I thought it was a shark at first, because when I jerked my foot away it wouldn’t let go. That’s probably where the slash on the top of my foot came from. I was bleeding profusely so they rushed me to the hospital. An hour after the sting and in intense pain they finally put my foot in hot water and the pain subsided. Tetanus shot and antibiotics now.

Comment from: Jen, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 28

I was stung by a stingray on my middle toe this afternoon. The only thing I can compare the pain to is childbirth. I would say on a scale of 1-10 it was 20. The pain came in waves getting longer and more intense as time went on and spread to my thigh. My foot swelled more than double in size up to the ankle. Hot water soothed it. After about 90 minutes the swelling went down rapidly and pain quickly started subsiding. I am now taking antibiotics to keep infection away. Aside from a bruise and cut I'm better.

Comment from: Bill, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: September 21

I was fishing on the intra-coastal near St Augustine, Florida when I caught a very small stingray; the smallest I have ever caught. I have handled many stingrays before without a problem. Because it was so small, it was able to swing its tail easily to get my left hand as I was trying to unhook it. Pain was intense, someone on this forum said it was a 15 out of 10. I would agree. I was by myself on a boat a few miles from our marina, but I couldn't drive the boat. Pain was so bad I passed out.

Comment from: Stingray Sam, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: September 10

I got stung by a cow nose stingray in Long Beach Island, New Jersey on 9/5/2018. The barb went into my left palm but didn’t break off. I had intense pain and lots of bleeding; was advised by the local clinic to go to the emergency room. They gave me ciprofloxacin 500 mg and doxycycline 100 mg; both to be taken every 12 hours. They gave me a little hydrocodone for the pain. I am writing this two days later, and there is very little pain, but there is swelling, itching, and a little bit of redness.

Comment from: Brady, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: July 20

I got nailed by a stingray yesterday while fishing and trying to remove the hook. He got me right in the fat part of my left hand. Luckily a friend had some pliers and was able to rip out the barb cleanly (but painfully)! I flushed it with hot water for 30 minutes then made the 1 hour and 30 minute drive to the emergency room. I’ve got a high pain threshold and I’d put this up around a 15 out of 10! On a couple antibiotics now for precaution but the wound seems to be healing fine with just a little swelling in my hand.

Comment from: Truleigh, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 10

I was stung a couple of days ago by a stingray on the 4th of July, in Hilton Head. My foot was fine until yesterday morning when it started swelling and blistering and has been oozing clear fluid. I started antibiotics yesterday after going to an urgent care facility. It's very difficult to walk on and I'm not sure what to expect next, but I can vouch for the pain being right up there with childbirth and kidney stones. Very debilitating and I'm so glad my daughter who was out there with me didn't get stung.

Comment from: BustersMommy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 09

I was in Oceanside, California two weeks ago and got stung on the top of my right foot. My 14 year old son and I were wading in the ocean in about two feet of water when we both felt something brush up against our feet. I was getting ready to tell him we should get out when a wave came and knocked me off balance. I then stepped on the stingray and immediately felt the pain. It felt like my foot was on fire. It was bleeding a lot and started to swell. The Coast Guard was driving around so they stopped, cleaned it, put a heat pack on it and said to go back to the room and soak it in hot water. I did that which helped, but the pain lasted for about two hours. Other than giving birth, it was the worst pain I have ever felt. My foot continued to swell until it looked like Fred Flintstone's foot. The swelling has gone down, but my foot started to feel warm so I went to the doctor and was put on two different antibiotics. He said the seawater has lots of bacteria in it and that can cause secondary infections. If the antibiotics don't work, I may have to have my foot cut open to see what's going on. I am thankful that it was me that got stung and not my son. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.


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Comment from: metacenter, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 19

In Costa Rica on Santa Theresa beach where I was learning to surf, I stepped on a stingray and was stung on the top of the right foot near the small toe. From what I've read I was lucky. No treatment knowledge so I spent 2 hours in a hammock going through some of the most intense pain I've known. I have been stung by bees and wasps and this pain was a whole level above that. No antibiotics or pain medications so I kept pressing out as much liquid from the wound as the pain would allow and rinsed it continuously in salt water. The swelling and redness declared itself over the 2 hours that the pain kept me sweating. Even now 3 weeks later the wound has not healed and continues to express clear liquid. No sign of infection but still very tender to the touch and some numbness in the two smallest toes.

Comment from: DrGreg, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 20

I was stung by stingray in my 5th finger 3 weeks ago while fishing (trying to remove hook). The pain was beyond anything I could have imagined. I went to urgent care and had minor surgery to remove spines, but pain did not stop even with the anesthesia, until hot water soaks (needed to soak for several hours). A week later it became very infected despite taking prophylactic antibiotics, and I had to be admitted to hospital to re-open the wound and get IV antibiotics. The finger and part of my hand has numbness and stinging pain. Skin is a blackish color as well.

Comment from: abc, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: January 06

I was fishing and hooked a stingray and was stung on thumb while removing a hook. I had immediate severe pain, hand and then arm started getting numb and heavy. Pain continued up and under arm. Then started chest pain. I went to the hospital and was immediately seen though others had been waiting 4 hours. I was put in hot water, and given a shot of prednisone and antibiotics. I was sent home with antibiotics and Benadryl prescription. I had a tetanus shot a few months ago. Chest pain continued for several days and got severe 6 days later. I felt awful at work and then went to the emergency room. I had ok EKG, but they admitted me. I was given Benadryl and a small dose of morphine for pain. Body was very red and I was itching. I was released a few hours later. They said they thought it was a reaction to antibiotics with exposure to the sun. It is still hurting. It hasn't been 5 whole days yet!

Comment from: Traemanden, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 29

I stepped on a stingray in Peru 10 days ago. At first I thought it was a crab or something biting after I felt movement under my foot. I rushed to the shore and found a 1 cm bleeding cut in the soft part below my ankle. I humped across the beach to find a shower and flushed it while letting it bleed, I guess half a cup of blood. An employee from the hotel had seen me humping over the beach and came with hot water and soap in which my foot soaked for 15 to 20 minutes. After that he gave me a cotton pad soaked in hydrogen peroxide for disinfection. Actually the H2O2 was the most painful part. After an hour sitting (was entertained by jumping humpback whales far out), the wound seemed closed and I was able to walk normally. Here 10 days later the skin is almost healed in the middle of a 1 inch pink spot, and I feel itching in all of the original cut (1 or 2 inches deep) and a little pain when pressing the area. I didn't get any tetanus or antibiotic shots.

Comment from: AndysMom, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 02

I was hit by stingray four days ago in Mexico. The pain was excruciating. The wound is 1 inch long by 1/8 inch deep, which is pretty bad. Hotel medics shot 6 ccs of lidocaine directly in the wound. I was then carried to the car and taken to Urgent Care. The doctor cleaned the wound, gave me more lidocaine and a shot of pain medicine in my butt. I got a tetanus shot also. I am taking amoxicillin as a precaution for secondary infection as long term health issues can occur. This is nothing to fool around with. I clean and dress the wound twice a day and no more beach or pool for me until it heals. A lot of people say soak the affected area in hot water, but I advise against this if the water is not clean as then you are soaking your open wound in dirty hot water. I suggest a trip to a medical clinic immediately. It has been four days and my foot is swollen and black and blue. The wound does not seem to be infected but I am watching it carefully.

Comment from: Emily R, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: March 24

In July I was in the water and suddenly something punctured my big toe and I first thought it was by a shell or maybe even a hook. Right away my foot swelled but I thought nothing, for your information I get very freaked out by doctors. I waited till the third day to go to the emergency room because the swelling and redness had not gone down and sure enough it was a stingray. The puncture hit my tendon in my foot, so right away they took me into surgery and removed the stinger as well as the venom. It was a horrible experience, all they gave me was Tylenol 3 and Neosporin. Long story short it’s almost going to be nine months and I still have no feeling in my toe, the top of my foot still gets swollen and my skin is very dry and kind of turning black no matter how much I take care of my toe. Wonder if it usually take this long for a stingray injury to heal, or if there can still be something wrong. Or maybe there could still be venom. I'm really scared there is a chance I could lose my toe. Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

Comment from: Dottie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 19

I got stung by a sting ray on February 5, 2019 just walking in the water in Mazatlan, Mexico. I stepped on the ray. It clamped on my foot then stabbed me with its barb. The pain was so intense. I’ve never felt that before. It was about a 100/10. I said I would have a 1000 pound baby. I got treated in Mazatlan although we do not know if there is tissue damage and a piece of barb in there. They stitched me up that day so some say it may not heal properly. I found a good doctor here in Canada to help.

Comment from: Dnoto, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 19

Today I was stung by a stingray in Florida. I too thought I was bitten by a crab, but when the pain got so unbearable and my hand became numb, I knew something was not right. When I got back to the beach house I put ice on it and the pain got worse and I felt sick to my stomach and fainted. My husband called a medical clinic and they had him bring me right in. They soaked my foot in extremely hot water with Epsom salt. The doctor later extracted the barb from my foot and soaked it again. I received a Tetanus shot and was prescribed antibiotics and Zyrtec.

Comment from: Cr8z4mod , 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 11

To the January 6 male patient that submitted about stingray injury, that they were itching in the hospital and they gave them Benadryl, I strongly urge you to find out what antibiotic they had given you. That was definitely a reaction. If you ever take that antibiotic again the reaction will be 100 times worse and could cause death. I have a reaction to sulfa that first started out as an itch. The emergency room (ER) gave me Benadryl. I took it again 10 years later, only one pill, and I was back in the ER. They said next time it would kill me.

Comment from: Masssmartyr1, 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: September 23

One Saturday in 2019 I was body boarding in imperial beach about a block from my house. When I was about to step into a wave I stepped on the stingray and hollered louder than when my guitar amp electrocuted me and sent me four feet back but caught the wave. It’s been a week and it's sorer. Adrenaline filled my body for hours fighting off the toxins I think, it got me high.

Comment from: GreenBayQB, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: September 03

I was bitten by a stingray in Clearwater Beach, FL. I called 911 and Beach Patrol had me soak my foot in very hot water for an hour or so. Six months later, it still hurts badly sometimes, and I’m told I might have nerve damage. I've tried numerous doctor’s ideas and neurologist attempts, but no luck.

Comment from: Babygirl35, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 20

I was stung by a stingray while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico by St. Petersburg Florida. I have never felt so much pain in my life and I have been stabbed twice. When I first felt it, it felt horrible. I had pain shooting clear up to my knee and my left leg felt paralyzed. It got me on two of my toes and thankfully the barb wasn't in it. I went to the ER as soon as it happened. The doctor stitched it up and gave me antibiotics. Apparently they weren't helping because I ended up back at the ER with a skin infection known as cellulitis. I was on an IV for 3 days getting antibiotics. I looked like a pin cushion. My toes still aren't fully healed but they are slowing getting there. Needless to say I will never go swimming in the ocean again!

Comment from: VCD, Male (Patient) Published: February 03

I was bitten by a sting ray. It has been a few months now, but I still have a wound. It still hurts when I walk quickly or run. I'm in Mumbai.

Comment from: Mgrmommee, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 11

I was stung while wading in shallow bay waters near Panama City Beach, FL. I thought it was a sea urchin and treated the wound with benadryl and ice. It left a little slit on the top of my foot that bled a little and immediately I had a bright red rash running down my foot to my toes. It burned as if I had been scorched. 5 days later it started to swell and I had purple lines around it. Went to ER and had to have IV antibiotic drip and follow up regime of antibiotics and pain meds.

Comment from: martin, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 10

I got stung just below the ball of my left foot. I was swimming at Sunset Beach, CA. I was in terrific pain and limped back to shore and hailed the roving lifeguard, who advised soaking in hot water. He put bandage wrap on my ankle and drove me back to my car. He told me to blow heat from car heater on my foot while I drive home or to the medical clinic/ER. I chose to go home after stopping to get Motrin and taking 1200 mg to control the pain. I poured hot water on my ankle for half an hour to lessen the venom and to let the wound bleed out. It was very painful to do home hot water treatment but I think it has helped cure the sting and almost eliminate the venom. Three hours after the sting I feel almost no pain and my ankle has not swelled. I am keeping a fresh bandage on it and using ample anti-skeptics on wound. Now it's just wait and see.

Comment from: spudsmack, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 10

I was stung today at Crystal Cove State Beach in Southern California on the bottom of my foot. I knew in an instant it was a stingray and I've never experienced such pain in my life. The lifeguards took me to their station and soaked my foot for about two hours in very hot water. After an inspection by the lifeguard he concluded the barb wasn't in my foot so I chose to treat it myself by washing and applying antibiotic ointment and hope it doesn't get infected.

Comment from: kit, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 10

Called a help nurse. At her advice, I soaked my foot in very hot water for 90 minutes, took Benadryl and Advil. After 90 minutes, I was over it all but the fatigue from the shock!

Comment from: DelMarSurfer, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 12

I got stung on my foot while I was surfing at Del Mar Sunday, which is just a little north of La Jolla. At first, I thought it was a crab bite. For treatment, I just put my foot in ice for a day, took a few aspirin and cried like a little girl. Two days later it is still a little swollen and it itches like mad. No big deal if you can take the pain.

Comment from: rhall, 13-18 Female (Caregiver) Published: May 01

My 15 year old son was stung 11 days ago in the water off Sanibel Island, Florida. He was in shin deep water and felt a piercing shock-like stab to the outside of his right ankle. It bled quite a bit and turned red right away. The redness started moving up his leg within a few minutes. He was in quite a bit of pain and had to be assisted to walk to a car for a quick ride to the local doctor. The doc immediately put his foot in very hot water and checked it for the barb. It bled again, but the pain lessened quickly after the hot water bath. He was given a large shot in his rump with antibiotics and sent home with oral antibiotics and pain meds. Eleven days later the location on his ankle is very "itchy" and a bit red. It is not infected, but just a bit sore. Being a 15 yr old boy he returned to the beach after we got home from the doctor. NO FEAR, but he is doing a better job shuffling his feet on the sandy bottom.

Published: April 10

I got stung in the top of my foot while I was in Mexico. The locals didn't know what to do for it -- they even sprayed Windex on it! Eventually, I couldn't stand the pain and someone called an ambulance. The clinic doctor gave me a shot of something for the pain and a prescription for something I couldn't read. When I returned home, my foot was still as big as a football and oozing from the wound, so I went to my family doctor. He is from the coast of Australia and had seen lots of sting ray injuries. He said the proper immediate treatment is to soak the injured limb in hot water.

Comment from: 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 29

I went to the ER where an immediate heat foot bath was begun. X-rays were done and antibiotics were prescribed.

Comment from: ThatHurtLikeSheet, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: February 08

I was stung in my hand. I went to the hospital. Pain was severe. The nurse brought a pan of hot water for me to submerge my hand in. It greatly reduced the pain. I wish I had known the hot water reduced the pain as it took me about two hours to get to the hospital. I had the doctor check the wound real good to be sure none of the stinger was broken off in my hand. I had a friend who was stung and treated at the hospital then had to return a couple of days later to be admitted for four days after it became infected. Anyway, hot water, wound checked and cleaned well, a shot of morphine, and a prescription for antibiotics. I had my wife to drive me home and I was good to go!

Comment from: BoJan, 75 or over Female Published: January 24

My husband got stung through his fishing boot and was in quite a bit of pain. After reading your article, I had him put heat on it and almost immediately the pain was gone. Thanks.

Comment from: PP, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 13

I was at the beach and the nearby restaurant put my foot in hot water with aloe. I still have a hard nodule by the puncture wound.

Comment from: RockMamma, 19-24 Male (Caregiver) Published: September 20

I just got stung by a sting ray. Went to the hospital and they said "just put it in hot water." So with all the things you're saying in the article, the hospital acted like it was no big deal.

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