Symptoms and Signs of Splinters

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 4/8/2019

Doctor's Notes on Splinters

Splinters are foreign bodies that are partially or fully embedded in the skin. Splinters are usually small pieces of wood but can be any type of material. They are caused by any type of activity or handling materials that have the potential to dislodge pieces with friction. Examples of activities that may cause splinters include woodworking, gardening, metalworking, or walking on a rough wood surface.

Splinters may not cause symptoms. If they do, the signs and symptoms associated with a splinter include a visible foreign object beneath the top layer of the skin, pain and tenderness at the affected site, and the feeling of having a foreign body stuck in the skin. If an infection develops at the site of a splinter, the area may become red, swollen, and warm to the touch.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.