Facts on Splinters
- Splinters are foreign bodies that are partially or fully embedded in the skin. Splinters usually are wood, but metal, glass, and plastic materials may be considered splinters.
- Sometimes splinters have to be removed by medical professionals, especially splinters that are deeply embedded or lodged under a fingernail or toenail.
- Most people with splinters are able to remove them without medical intervention.
- Splinters are usually found when they penetrate the skin-usually in the hand or foot. Almost always, even fully embedded foreign bodies have a unique sensation.
- Splinters are full of germs. If splinters are not removed (or don't work their way out themselves), they may cause an infection.
- Handling an object may cause a small portion to dislodge as the person applies friction to that object (examples would be woodworking, metalworking, or falling and sliding on wooden floors).
- The protective thorns of plants may cause splinters to lodge in the skin while gardening.
- Butchers may end up with a small splinter of bone penetrating their skin.
- The foot is usually injured when a person steps on a foreign body or slides forward (some examples would be walking on a rough wooden deck or boardwalk or stepping on shards of glass).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/31/2016
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