Splinters Under Fingernails: Treatment And How To Remove Them?

Splinters under fingernails can be common among adults and children. The body tends to react differently to different kind of foreign objects and often depends upon the nature of the splinter i.e. wood, glass or metal. Also superficial splinters are easier to manage compared to deeper and larger splinters, which invariably require a physician’s supervision to be removed.

Inability to completely remove a splinter may result in complications like secondary infection, formation of granuloma, inflammation or worse- toxic reaction.

In most cases, uncontaminated glass or metal can result in encapsulation, with is relatively a mild reaction, however wood, cactus spine, wood thorns, etc may be associated with relatively severe forms of reactions ranging from inflammation, hypersensitivity reaction to toxic reactions.

Splinter under the finger nails can be associated with symptoms like pain, swelling and redness. This in turn can interfere with your ability to use your hands for picking or touching things.

One of the biggest challenges with splinter under fingernails is its failure to detect the presence of the splinter. While imaging tools may be useful for metal splinters, it is not very efficient for wood or glass splinters.

While sonography is usually considered very useful, your physician may even recommend a more elaborate scan if required.

How To Get Rid Of Splinters Under Fingernails?

While it is usually recommended to consult your physician for removal of splinters, one can try removing smaller, superficial and visible splinters at home. It is however recommended to visit your physician’s office for removing deeper and larger splinters or splinters that are not visible,

  • Add a tablespoon of baking soda and soak your finger for about 10 minutes. After removing wash your hands thoroughly with soap and ensure that they are dry. Baking soda helps in disinfecting the splinter and soaking your finger can help loosen up the skin, making the removal of the splinter easier.
  • Sterilize the tweezers or needle that you may use to remove the splinter. Also clean the fingernail clipper thoroughly.
  • Trim your nail, especially around the site in order to allow better access for the location of the splinter. You can also clip your fingernail in a typical V shape to allow better access.
  • Now grasp the end of the splinter with the tweezers or use the needle to attempt to remove the splinter. Ensure that the splinter is removed completely, if not consult your physician immediately. A broken splinter which is retained in under the nail is associated with a higher chance of infection.
  • Cover the wound with sterile bandage and keep it covered till it heals. Local application of calendula cream or tea tree oil is also recommended. Tea tree oil helps fight bacterial infections and prevents superadded infections, while calendula hastens the process of healing.

Splinter Under Fingernail Infection Treatment

Homeopathic drug Silicea and Hepar Sulph taken in repeated dosages over several times in the day. Both these drugs work towards naturally triggering the immune system which in turn results in formation of pus around the site of the splinter injury.

This process of suppuration can help in natural ejection of the splinter. This technique can be used for smaller splinters that are suspected to be logged behind.  However don’t use silicea if you suffer from some kind of blood dyscrasia.

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