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A splinter is any foreign body that becomes embedded under the skin. Splinters should be removed as soon as possible to decrease inflammation and reduce the risk of infection. Splinters that occur under the fingernail are particularly painful because there are many nerve endings in this area. Typically these splinters are removed by a health-care professional who will anesthetize the finger; however, a splinter under the fingernail that is not completely embedded in the skin can be removed at home.

Soak the finger for 10 minutes in a small bowl of warm water and 1 tbsp. of baking soda. Wash your hands with soap and water and dry thoroughly. Clean the tweezers and fingernail clippers with rubbing alcohol and allow them to dry.

Trim the nail where the splinter is located to allow better access. Clip a "V" shape in the nail, with the point of the V positioned over the end of the splinter.

Gently pull the skin at the end of the finger away from the fingernail. Grasp the end of the splinter firmly with the tweezers and slowly pull the splinter out. Place a sterile adhesive bandage over the tip of the finger. Keep the finger covered, except during cleaning, until the skin is healed.


Do not attempt to remove a splinter that is completely under the skin -- seek medical attention.