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What should I do if I step on glass?

Dr. Saviet answers a common question and gives helpful advice on how to proceed after stepping on glass.

What should I do if I step on glass?


This is a common question in the summer, usually from the beach or around the pool, but can be a year round issue. The simple answer is...see a doctor.

Glass, like any foreign body that can penetrate skin, is likely to eventually be worked out of your skin by your body's natural defenses and inflammatory response. However, the deeper it penetrates, the harder it is to get rid of and the longer it will likely take. 

The first steps with any injury like this are to wash it with soap and warm water to remove any contamination and help reduce risk of infection. If there is anything readily visible it's worthwhile to try to brush it out or use some CLEAN tweezers to try to pluck it out.

If you aren't sure if you got it all, then you should soak the injury in warm water and epsom salts twice a day for a day or two until you can see a doctor. 

Time matters

We usually like to see these in the office within a few days if there is any question that something might still be in there. Patients that are at risk for infection frequently are put on antibiotics. If there is something we can get out, we will numb the area up to remove it. 

Timing is important, however, as we want patients to come see us when there is still an "entry wound" for us to follow. If you wait 2-3 weeks, the track can be healed up and then the simple act of plucking out a sliver of glass becomes a fishing expedition. A few weeks after that, the body will likely be pushing the piece of glass out and it can be a bit more obvious where it is. 

Long story short: see a doctor or urgent care within a few days of the injury just to make sure all is good. 

At Central Massachusetts Podiatry we offer same-day visits for emergencies in Worcester and Westborough. Call 508-757-4003 or TEXT 508-625-7775.


Dr. Benjamin Saviet Dr. Benjamin Saviet is a Podiatrist at Central Massachusetts Podiatry, in Worcester and Westborough. He is a board certified rearfoot and ankle surgeon, runner and triathlete. As a former Division 1 runner, he understands how important activities are to his patients. His most important goal when treating all patients is to get them back the activities they love as quickly and safely as possible.

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