Dear Foot Blogger Chick,
We were out washing down our deck last weekend and I think I may have gotten a splinter in my foot. There is a spot on the bottom of my foot that is really swollen and red. It feels warm to the touch. I cannot comfortably wear shoes. What should I do?
Shoeless in Seattle
It sounds like you have an infection in your foot.
Signs of Infection –
Anytime your foot is swollen and warm to the touch, it is time to (quickly) go to your friendly local podiatrist. This is not the “I think I will see if it gets better on its own” time. The warmth and the swelling indicate that there is a problem and that problem is very possibly an infection. Two other signs to look for would be if you start to run a fever or if the inflamed area starts to have red streaks coming out of it.
What is a splinter?
“A splinter is a fragment of a larger object (especially wood), or a foreign body that penetrates or is purposely injected into a body. The foreign body must be lodged inside tissue to be considered a splinter. Splinters may cause initial pain through ripping of flesh and muscle, infection through bacteria on the foreign object, and severe internal damage through migration to vital organs or bone over time.
When most people usually think of a splinter, they usually think of wood. There are many types of common splinters other than wood. According to American Association of Family Practitioners (AAFP), common types of splinters are glass, plastic, metal, and spines of animals.”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
How to avoid splinters –
I know that his will come as no surprise to you but you should always have something covering your feet. (If you are diabetic, it is really imperative that you always wear a foot covering) I know that things can happen and you get caught unaware but if you make it a practice to always wear shoes, your chances of getting a splinter in your foot will go down dramatically.
What to do if you get a splinter?
Your body is a very interesting piece of machinery. It does not want a splinter to be inside of it. Given enough time, your body will expel the splinter on its own. That is not practical in some instances. Back in the olden days, the immediate solution would be to take a pair of tweezers and try to remove the splinter. Sometime this worked just fine. Sometimes you ended up pushing the splinter farther into your skin.
One of the popular remedies is to use a paste of baking soda, salt, hydrogen peroxide, and water. You would make a paste using 2 teaspoons of baking soda, a pinch of salt, a couple drops of hydrogen peroxide, and ¼ teaspoon of water. Put the paste on the area with the splinter and let it sit for about 15 – 20 minutes. The splinter should start to come out. Once it is sticking out, you can take tweezers and remove it the rest of the way. Apply some antibiotic ointment or cream and let the area air dry.
Another method of removing a splinter is to take some glue and put it over the area with the splinter. Let the glue dry and then peel it off in the opposite direction than the splinter entered your skin.
If there is a small piece of the splinter sticking out, you can also just try putting a piece of duct tape or scotch tape over the splinter and pulling it off. (pull opposite from the way the splinter entered)
What if I can’t get the splinter out?
If you have tried several methods and the splinter is really stuck in your foot and it is uncomfortable, swollen, or painful, it is time to go to your friendly local podiatrist to have the splinter removed. The doctor can take care of that for you and if needed give you an antibiotic cream or ointment. The doctor will also show you how to bandage the area. You will feel better in no time.
So, let’s try and avoid getting any splinters in our feet this summer, okay?
The Foot Blogger Chick
Do you have more foot questions? Please note that there is a search box on the side of this post. Put in the key word and the posts that apply will pop up for you. If you can’t find the topic through the search function, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are social! Come and join us on Facebook (Evanston Podiatric Surgeons) or twitter (@evpodiatric). We love for you to keep in touch!