What Happens When Foot Splinters are Left Untreated?

Splinters in the feet are among the most common of minor injuries. Every adult has suffered from this and every parent has removed them from his or her children’s feet.  Removing splinters from the feet is normally easy and there are a number of very effective home remedies to take care of the situation. But while a splinter in the foot is a common occurrence, it must be dealt with as soon as possible. If it is not attended to, this small irritant can become a major health hazard.

Foot Infections

The skin that covers the body is not only the largest human organ, it is the primary defense against infection. Any time there is even a minute break or puncturing of the skin, an opening for germs and bacteria to enter the body is created. And if anything remains in the break, the chances of infection increase. When the object in the wound is wood, things can become serious. Wood is organic which means that it is a natural habitat for bacteria which will enter the body. When bacteria enters the metabolism, it begins to multiply so that it can spread across the body. In a healthy person the immune system spots this problem and sends white blood cells to the infected area to kill the bacteria and stop the infection from spreading. At times the body may be able to destroy the potential infection. At times it may not. But the fact that the source of the infection remains in the body increases the severity of the problem and the chances of the condition worsening.

Even if the immune system is able to isolate and contain the infection, the area can become swollen and painful and be filled with pus. This is often referred to as an abscess. Once this happens a visit to the doctor is required to drain the pus so that the infected area can heal and also to finally remove the splinter from the foot. The doctor may prescribe a course of oral antibiotics to eradicate the infection.

The bottom line is that splinters should be removed from the foot ASAP. The area should be washed with soap and water before and after removal and a normal non-prescription antibiotic cream applied, even if the break in the skin is minute. In most cases this is all that is required. But if the pain or irritation continues or if the area becomes red and / or swollen, a doctor should be consulted because it is likely that a portion of the splinter still remains in the skin or that an infection has set in.

Symptoms And Types Of Splinters

A minute splinter may not cause any noticeable pain but the area where it punctured the skin will usually show some redness and be tender to the touch. If the splinter is in the bottom of the foot, the wound will normally be painful when weight is placed on it.

There are various types of splinter that can enter the body.  While wooden splinter are the most common, they can also be:
  •    Organic: Cactus splines, thorns, toothpicks etc.
  •    Metallic: nails, needles, pins, tacks etc.
  •    Fiberglass pieces, fishhooks, bits of glass, plastic and other similar objects.
Do not ignore a splinter in the foot or any other part of the body. They can usually be easily removed. But if they are allowed to remain in the skin the simple problem can get very complicated.


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