Stepping on broken glass can be incredibly painful. In between trying to clear up the blood, figuring out if all the glass has been safely removed from the floor and whether or not all the tiny bits have been removed from your foot can be quite the challenge.
It can also become stressful if it’s a grandchild or someone young who has stepped on glass. While there are plenty of myths and hacks for removing glass on the internet, ranging from baking soda to white vinegar and even honey, Christina O’Brien from the Australian Podiatry Association explained to Starts at 60 that it’s always best to seek professional help in most cases.
“I would definitely see a GP or see a podiatrist because I’ve pulled glass out of peoples’ feet before and sometimes the slivers are so tiny,” O’Brien explained. “We are right there at your foot.”
When people do get glass stuck in their feet, they typically have to bend and get into uncomfortable positions in order to reach the bottom of their foot to remove it if there’s no one else around to help them. While it can be effective for many with a bit of effort, there’s always the risk of missing glass or causing further injury. This is why seeking help can save people in the long run.
“We don’t have to twist our bodies to reach underneath them and try to get in the right light to avoid shadows,” O’Brien said. “We have the appropriate tools, we have very sharp instruments, we don’t have to dig around too much and we can see it clearly.”
The problem for many is getting from their home or the location of the accident to a GP or health professional without causing further injury or pain. Thankfully, there are steps people can take, depending on how big the piece or pieces of glass are and what they stepped on.
While the instinct for many is to bandage the impacted area up, soaking the foot in warm salty water for five or 10 minutes is the best step to take.
“That will help avoid bacterial infection as much as possible,” O’Brien said.
It’s also important to avoid walking or putting weight on the foot. Doing so can push any tiny or invisible pieces of glass further into the foot, which can cause pain, infection or other problems.
“You might have to use crutches or something for a day or so until you can see someone,” she added. “Or just try to avoid walking on it as much as possible until you can see someone.”
Once in contact with a GP, podiatrist or health professional, they will be able to effectively remove the glass and inform patients of the next steps to take to recover from their accident. Every foot is different and each glass accident varies, so the recovery and treatment options can differ from case to case.