ZocdocAnswersIs it okay to leave a small splinter inside my nail?

Question

Is it okay to leave a small splinter inside my nail?

A large wood splinter go into my nail, i quickly removed it and disinfected it with iodine. I feel like there is a small splinter left behind. Should I get it remove or leave it alone? I'm afraid that the nail prevents the splinter from coming out of the flesh if i leave it alone.

Answer

You should discuss this issue with your primary care doctor if you develop any symptoms concerning an infection (such as redness, swelling, pain, or pus), as these might indicate the need to remove the splinter or to take antibiotics to get the infection under control. Most of the time, a small piece of debris that ends up underneath the nail will slowly work itself out all on its own. As the nail grows gradually, it will probably push out the remaining splinter. In fact, generally, it is probably best not to try to remove small debris from under the nail, because you might cause bleeding, swelling, damage to the nail or nail bed. You also increase the risk of an infection. Make sure to show the nail to your doctor during your next visit, and they will be able to verify that the nail is in fact continuing to grow properly and that the splinter is working its way out. Good luck!

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