Deep sole burns in several participants in a traditional festival of the firewalking ceremony in Kee-lung, Taiwan - Clinical experiences and prevention strategies

Shun-Cheng Chang, Chih-Kang Hsu, Yuan-Sheng Tzeng, Shou-Cheng Teng, Ju-Peng Fu, Niann-Tzyy Dai, Shyi-Gen Chen, Tim-Mo Chen, Chun-Che Feng

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Purpose: Firewalking is a common Taoist cleansing ceremony in Taiwan, but burns associated with the practice have rarely been reported. We analyzed the patients with plantar burns from one firewalking ceremony. Materials and methods: In one firewalking ceremony, 12 Taoist disciples suffered from contact burns to the soles of their feet while walking over burning coals. Eight of them had at least second-degree burns over areas larger than 1% of their total body surface areas (TBSAs). The age, sex, medical history, date of injury, time taken to traverse the fire pit, depth and TBSA of the burns, treatment, length of stay, and outcome were recorded and analyzed. Results: Deep, disseminated second- to third-degree burns were noted and healing took as long as three weeks in some patients. Because disseminated hypertrophic scars form after burns, the soles involved regain much of their tensile strength while walking. The patients experienced only a few difficulties in their daily lives three months after injury. Conclusion: From our experience treating patients with deep disseminated second- to third-degree plantar burns caused by firewalking, we conclude that they should be treated conservatively, with secondary healing rather than a skin graft. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd and ISBI. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1079-1083
Number of pages5
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • Contact burns
  • Firewalking
  • Foot burns
  • Temperature
  • Time factors
  • Wound healing
  • amoxicillin plus clavulanic acid
  • sulfadiazine silver
  • adult
  • article
  • bed rest
  • body surface
  • burn
  • clinical article
  • cultural anthropology
  • daily life activity
  • deep sole burn
  • disease association
  • emergency care
  • fire
  • foot injury
  • human
  • injury severity
  • length of stay
  • male
  • medical history
  • outcome assessment
  • outpatient care
  • primary prevention
  • religion
  • scar
  • Taiwan
  • wound dressing
  • wound healing
  • Adult
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Bandages
  • Burns
  • Carboxymethylcellulose Sodium
  • Ceremonial Behavior
  • Cicatrix, Hypertrophic
  • Fires
  • Foot Injuries
  • Holidays
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Religious Philosophies
  • Silver Sulfadiazine
  • Wound Healing

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