Removing a Splinter from Under a Fingernail

July/August 2011  ISSN-1059-6518  Volume 24 Number 4

Removing a Splinter from Under a Fingernail

By Frank Hubbell, DO

Illustrations By T.B.R. Walsh

Ouch, dang it!

You have managed to hook a piece of wood under your fingernail, and in the process a splinter is now firmly lodged there. OUCH! The discomfort is quite remarkable for such a small torture device. In fact, it is almost nauseating. And even worse, if the splinter or any part of it remains under the fingernail, it will very likely turn into a very nasty and even more painful infection.

You closely examine the injury. Through the fingernail you can see the dark line of wood that runs three quarters of the way up under the nail. There is a small piece of the splinter just barely protruding out from under the nail. With great care you gently grab the stub and pull. To your absolute horror, it breaks off, leaving you with no hope of easily extracting the splinter. Now what do you do?

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