How to remove a splinter embedded in the heel

Updated November 21, 2016

If you walk around barefoot, it's easy to pick up a splinter from a wooden deck or boardwalk. You can remove most splinters at home. However, deeply embedded heel splinters or splinters accompanied by profuse bleeding will require your doctor's assistance. Removing the splinter as soon as you notice it will help prevent infection.

Clean your hands to remove dirt and germs. Gently wash the affected heel, paying special attention to where the splinter is embedded.

Disinfect a pair of tweezers and a needle by wiping the ends with an alcohol pad. Take your tweezers and draw the splinter out at the same angle it went in, suggests the MedlinePlus website. Use this method only when the splinter protrudes from your heel.

Use your sterilised needle to gently break the skin where the splinter is embedded, recommends the Mayo Clinic. This method works when the splinter is beneath your skin and you can't grasp it easily with your tweezers. Once the splinter is exposed, use the tip of your needle to lift the splinter partially out; then use your tweezers to remove it.

Wash your wound and pat the area dry. Apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment over your wound. Use a gauze pad to cover the wound and medical tape to keep the gauze in place.


See your doctor if you only partially remove the splinter. If any part of the splinter remains embedded, it can lead to an infection. Seek medical attention if you develop redness, swelling, pain, oozing or red streaking at the affected site. If your child has a splinter in her heel, you may prefer to see her physician for removal instead of trying to restrain her and remove the splinter at the same time.

Things You'll Need

  • Soap
  • Water
  • Tweezers
  • Needle
  • Alcohol pads
  • Towel
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Gauze
  • Medical tape
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