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essieness's avatar

What should I do about this shard of glass that's been stuck in my big toe for about a year?

Asked by essieness (7693points) February 23rd, 2010

About a year ago, I slipped and fell while I had a glass of ice water in my hand and of course, it broke and shattered everywhere. While I was trying to clean up the glass, a little shard got lodged in the side of my big toe. I tried pulling it out, but had no luck. Eventually, it healed up with the shard of glass inside and I hardly thought about it again. Now, a year later, I can feel it surfacing. If I step on it just the right way, I feel a little sharp pain.

So, should I try cutting it open and pulling the glass out, or just wait for it to expel itself?

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39 Answers

spiritual's avatar

I think you should head to the doctors and let them take a look at it. You don’t want to go cutting your foot open in case you catch a nerve.

shadling21's avatar

If I were you, I’d go to a doctor.

LunaChick's avatar

Go to a podiatrist and have him/her look at it.

essieness's avatar

Unfortunately, I’m not one of those lucky Americans who can afford health insurance, so I don’t think I’ll be spending however much it would cost to go to the doctor… Any other ideas?

bobisho's avatar

This is an inexperienced answer, but if you wait a little longer I wouldn’t think it out of the question if it surfaced all the way so you could take it out.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

This doesnt sound like a DIY job. At the very least, the doctor has anesthetic.
Get it out of there.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I’m regularly picking bits of shrapnel out of my skin, for the last 18 years. Foreign objects shallow under the skin work themselves out. When it does emerge, just pick it out, clean the area and put bacitracin and a bandaid on the spot.

holden's avatar

Reverse time and pull it out a year ago.

Cruiser's avatar

I am a DIY Kinda guy….try soaking it in warm Epsom salts for ½ hour or so to soften the skin…sterilize a new razor blade and cut a little x over the shard….squeeze the toe and the shard should shoot out like a jack in the box. Disinfect with peroxide and bandage.

wilma's avatar

@Cruiser that’s what I would do too, I’m a DIY kinda gal.

Cruiser's avatar

@wilma Easier said than done though especially glass….they really hurt if left in. The longest I went was a week and couldn’t stand it any longer so I finally operated.

Dr_C's avatar

E.R. essie. don’t try and do it yourself. Please.

Rarebear's avatar

@essieness Leave it alone. Under no circumstances should you try digging it out yourself. If it’s been in there for over a year a granuloma has formed around it, which will make it difficult to remove, even for a physician. If it’s really bothering you, you’re going to have to suck it up and go get it looked at.

Trust me on this—I’ve removed enough foreign bodies from feet to know how difficult it is.

wilma's avatar

Oh it looks like it’s a good thing I haven’t had to try this. Some ER Dr. would probably have to try and repair the mess I made, eh?

essieness's avatar

Maybe a video of the situation would help….

I don’t normally grunt when I talk, but I was in an awkward position.

HungryGuy's avatar

Go make an appointment with Senator Leiberman and explain your situation to him. I’m sure he’d be willing to pay for you to go see a doctor…

lilikoi's avatar

Do NOT go to the ER. It will cost you a fortune, not only in dollars but hours waiting. If you want to have it removed, make an appointment instead with a doctor. You could try to wait it out and see if it works itself to the surface (works for splinters sometimes), but I think you’ll eventually have to either remove it yourself (which I wouldn’t think would be too risky if it was just below the surface of the skin) or have a professional remove it for you because I don’t think our bodies can break glass down…i.e. it’s not going anywhere by itself. If it is red, it could be infected (I wouldn’t be able to tell) in which case you’d want to have it removed ASAP I would think. If it starts to swell or gets very tender, I would take that as a bad sign and suck it up and have a doctor look at it.

lilikoi's avatar

I’d think you’d want to see a general practitioner, not a podiatrist, though, right? It is probably a routine procedure for a general prac not requiring any kind of specialty? Maybe one of the doctors could clarify.

Rarebear's avatar

Excellent video. Again, don’t try to take it out by yourself. You probably have a small abscess in there which is why it’s swollen and tender. A good family physician or a podiatrist should be able to deal with it.

shadling21's avatar

Awwwww cute video ahaha

Dr_C's avatar

A GP can handle it.

deni's avatar

This is not a funny question but I’ve never stumbled across any question besides “when I cough it hurts my chode, whats wrong?” that made me laugh as hard as this one. Therefore I give it a GQ and hope your toe feels better

essieness's avatar

@deni Haha, I actually think it’s quite comical… ;)

SeventhSense's avatar

Come on, are you trippin’? If you were shot would you get the bullet removed?

Rarebear's avatar

Just in thinking about this more, and looking at the video again, I think it would be a relatively easy removal. Sometimes what happens is the foreign body develops a sterile abscess. In that case, it kind of “floats” in the pus. The doctor (or PA or FNP) makes a small incision, drains the pus, and the foreign body floats right out.

neverawake's avatar

just leave it there. i mean, if you really had it for about a year and nothing’s happened so far, what’s the worst that can happen??...of course it could get really infected and you’d have to have it amputated, but that’s no biggie, right?

SeventhSense's avatar

I’ve had splinters and usually the likes of the pus surround the intruder and they can just be expelled fairly easily like @Rarebear pionts out.

Supacase's avatar

I would probably do a bit of “kitchen sink” surgery and work it out myself. Scoop, cut, tweeze, squeeze, dig, etc.

I did this with a corn in a particularly bad spot and a few ingrown nails. If it really hurts I make my husband do it. I use a lot of peroxide and clean cloths, have clean hands and finish up with an anti-bacterial ointment and a bandage.

augustlan's avatar

Loved the video, @essieness! Hope you get this sorted out soon. :)

cookieman's avatar

I’d go with @Cruiser‘s suggestion. Just be sure to disinfect the heck out it before and after.

Peroxide wash then a gob of neosporin and a bandage.

Check it daily thereafter. If it becomes inflamed or full of puss…see a doctor.

Great video. Too cute.

shadling21's avatar

Be careful! Good luck!

essieness's avatar

Update: The thing is starting to surface and I’m thinking it’s gonna hatch any day now!

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Once it emerges, just pull it with tweezers, clean, put some antibiotic ointment and a bandage on it.

Dr_C's avatar

Way to go essie!

Rarebear's avatar

@essieness Nicely done. Out of pure medical curiosity, was it surrounded by anything? Was there any pus?

essieness's avatar

@Rarebear Nope, it came out in one, clean little piece and my toe didn’t even bleed. I think scar tissue or something had grown around it. The glass was about ¼” long and very, very thin. Everything is fine!

Rarebear's avatar

@essieness Interesting. I’m glad you got it out.

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