Medically the evaluation by Cynthia Taylor Chavoustie, MPAS, PA-C — created by daniel Dresden ~ above July 31, 2020

Stepping on a nail is a usual injury that reasons a puncture wound, regularly in the shape of a round hole. Puncture wounds deserve to look small, yet as they have the right to penetrate deep into the skin, they have the right to be daunting to clean and pose a threat for infection.

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Initially, a puncture wound may not look serious, as they often bleed much more internally 보다 externally. However, as nails ~ above the floor are regularly dirty, they have the right to push soil, rust, wood, or clothing fibers right into the foot.

In this article, we talk about how to carry out an initial aid for this injury, when to seek clinical help, if a rusty nail reasons tetanus, and also how to recuperate at home.


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Share ~ above PinterestPeople must visit a physician within 24 hrs of stepping on a pond in order to minimize the danger of tetanus or other infection.
If someone actions on a nail, they have to take the following steps come clean and also dress the wound:

Thoroughly wash the hands through soap.Apply gentle push with a clean fabric to slow the bleeding.Flush the wound through clean water and also soap as quickly as feasible for 5–10 minutes.If there is debris in the wound, disinfect some tweezers with rubbing alcohol and use castle to eliminate as lot as possible.Apply antiseptic, antibiotic ointment, or both come the wound area if available.Dress the wound v a clean bandage.

Once a person has dressed the wound, they have to seek clinical care and also not placed weight top top the foot.


When to obtain medical help

The American university of Foot and Ankle Surgeons suggest that civilization seek medical aid within 24 hrs after they action on a nail.

Stepping top top a nail have the right to push debris and also bacteria right into the foot. Even if a human being cleans the wound thoroughly at home, or the wound watch small, over there is quiet a hazard of infection.

Clinicians calculation that 10% of civilization who action on a nail will develop an infection. Indications of an infection include:

sorenessswellingwarmthredness

A human should not wait until these symptoms develop to seek medical help. The best means to avoid an infection is beforehand treatment. This may mean a visit to the hospital.


Do rusty nails reason tetanus? 

Rusty nails carry out not cause tetanus themselves, yet they often occupy dirty or dusty locations that port Clostridium tetani, the bacteria that cause tetanus. Stepping on a nail deserve to spread this bacteria come humans.

Wounds are the many common way people get tetanus. However, widespread inoculation has diminished tetanus epidemic in the United says by 99% due to the fact that 1947, follow to the U. S. Department of health & human Services.

The tetanus vaccine protects people against tetanus and also diphtheria. Some versions of the vaccine also protect versus pertussis, or whooping cough. Immunity from the vaccine lasts roughly 10 years.

All that these problems are possibly serious. Tetanus can be fatal in two human being out that every 10 who obtain it.

If a human who procedures on a nail has not had a tetanus inoculation in the last 5 years, they need to see a physician right away so lock can get a top-up.

Symptoms that a tetanus infection include:

lockjaw, an i can not qualify to move the jawa rigid face expressiondrooling and difficulty swallowingmuscle spasms and also painloss of bowel controldifficulty breathing

Someone might not develop tetanus symptom for as much as 60 work after an injury. If someone has actually these symptoms after they action on a nail, they must dial the emergency number 911.

Learn more about tetanus.


Most puncture wounds space minor and also heal through no more issues. However, if a wound is deep, has actually ragged edges, or contains a international object, that is much more likely to build complications. These deserve to include:

an abscess

Osteomyelitis creates slowly, and may take days or months to appear. Roughly 1–2% of civilization with a foot puncture wound go on to develop this condition.

Many other types of epidemic can additionally occur if a human being steps on a nail, including Pseudomonas, which frequently lives on rubber-soled shoes. Beforehand treatment native a physician or foot professional is the best means to stop these complications.


After someone receives clinical treatment because that stepping ~ above a nail, they can recover at home. Recovery time will depend on several factors, such as exactly how deep the wound is. A human can assist their restore by:

keeping load off the foot because that at least 24 hourselevating the footkeeping a clean dressing ~ above the wound, and changing bandages follow to a doctor’s instructionsgradually reintroducing weight-bearing activities, such together walking, as soon as the pain enhances

If a medical professional prescribes antibiotics, the is essential to end up the course, even if the wound feel or looks better. Seek medical aid if the wound does no improve, ache does not fully subside, or symptoms acquire worse.


Stepping ~ above a nail causes a puncture wound, which regularly looks prefer a tiny hole in the foot. It might not bleed as lot as a cut, however due to the danger of infection, this form of wound regularly requires clinical attention.

A person deserve to reduce the threat of symptom with very first aid. They must seek prompt medical care, and also keep the wound clean. A human being may likewise need a tetanus vaccine if they have actually not had one in the last 5 years.

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If a person’s wound does no heal, continues to hurt, or shows indicators of infection, they should seek further medical attention.