What is a splinter?

A splinter most often is a shard of wood but it could also be a thorn from a bush, a small piece of plastic or even a piece of metal.

Fortunately, 9 times out of 10 a splinter is a non-event and can easily be removed with tweezers or even a fingernail. The closer it is to the skin the easier it is to remove with less risk of infection. If there is any concern of size, depth, or location contact your podiatrist at Kalmar Family Podiatry for an immediate office appointment to reduce risk of infection.

If the splinter is made of wood or from a garden there is a higher chance of bacterial or fungal infection rather than from plastic.

Regardless, the rule of thumb is simple. If the splinter is easy to get out, and if you are comfortable removing it then you should get it out.

How to remove a splinter in one piece?

Step 1: Wash and dry the area

Step 2: Soften the skin by soaking the area for 1 – 2 minutes

Step 3: Inspect the splinter – evaluate the size and direction of entry

Step 4: Use clean/sterile tweezers to remove the splinter if part of the splinter is sticking out

TIP: You need to pull the splinter out in the same direction in went in to reduce the risk of the splinter breaking

Step 5: Clean the area and apply topical antibiotic ointment to the area. Keep the area covered with a band-aid. Rinse and clean the area daily then apply ointment again.

Even with successful removal you need to inspect the area daily. If the area becomes red, hot, swollen, or painful it could be infected and should be evaluated by your podiatrist at Kalmar Family Podiatry

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