Font Size

Splinters (cont.)

Home Remedies for Splinters

Patient Comments

Take the following steps to remove a splinter.

  • Using a pair of tweezers, grab the protruding end of the splinter and pull it out along the direction it entered. Wash the area with soap and water.
  • At times, splinters may be fully embedded in the skin. Use a small needle sterilized in boiling water. Clean the skin with an antiseptic (such as Betadine or alcohol). Use the needle to gently and partially dislodge the splinter, which may then be removed fully with tweezers. Wash the area with soap and water.
  • If a splinter appears to be too deep to attempt removal at home, see your doctor. If you have only been able to remove a portion of the splinter and foreign material remains embedded in the skin, the doctor should be able to remove the rest.

Splinters Treatment

The best treatment for a splinter is to remove it.

  • Deep splinters may require the physician to numb the area, and then make an incision with a scalpel in order to remove the splinter.
  • The doctor attempts to remove all fragments of the foreign body and cleanse the area.
  • If the splinter is underneath the fingernail, the physician may have to remove a portion of the fingernail to allow removal of the entire splinter.
  • If the patient has an infection, the doctor will clean the area and explore the infected area to remove the splinter.
  • If there are signs of inflammation, the doctor will either explore the area or remove the inflamed area with a scalpel. This ensures removal of the splinter.
  • The doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
  • If the doctor feels that the patient's wound is too large to leave open, he or she may use one of several methods (such as stitches) to close it. If the wound is infected, the doctor probably won't suture it closed.
  • Depending on whether the patient's vaccinations are current, they may require a tetanus shot.

Splinters Prognosis

Most splinters are removed easily at home, and no infection develops. If splinters are not removed, they may become inflamed and lead to infection.

Medically reviewed by Norman Levine, MD; American Board of Dermatology


MedscapeReference. Foreign Body Removal, Wound.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/31/2016
Medical Author:

Must Read Articles Related to Splinters

First Aid Kits
First Aid Kits Get information about what you need in a first aid...learn more >>
Puncture Wound
Puncture Wound A puncture wound is caused by an object piercing the skin such as nails, glass, pins, or other sharp objects. A puncture wound can become infected if not treate...learn more >>
Tetanus Tetanus is an infectious disease caused by contamination of wounds from the bacteria Clostridium tetani, or the spores they produce that live in the soil, and a...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Splinters:

Splinters - Home Remedy

What home remedy have you found most helpful in removing a splinter?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Foreign Body Removal, Wound »

Soft tissue foreign bodies are frequently a result of penetrating or abrasive trauma and can result in substantial patient discomfort, deformity, complications involving localized and systemic infection, and further trauma during removal.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary