Where should I go to get a piece of glass out of my foot?
December 28, 2022 9:39 AM   Subscribe

I stepped on a tiny piece of glass and it’s burrowed into my foot and I can’t get it out. Who should I go to to remove it? My GP doctor, an urgent care clinic (CityMD), a dermatologist, a podiatrist, or someone else? Glass piece was like a third the size of a tic tac. Thanks!
posted by andoatnp to Health & Fitness (17 answers total)
When I did this a number of years ago, my primary care doctor sent me to the emergency room. Mine was very very small, though - basically a glass splinter - which may have been the reason.

Can you call your GP and ask if they are equipped to handle it?
posted by okayokayigive at 9:43 AM on December 28, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In a similar circumstance I went to an urgent care. You just need a nurse. Toss up between that and your GP depending on who can see you first. Dermatologist is overkill for basic first aid and at least in my area the wait period is weeks/months long. No first hand experience with the podiatry option.
posted by blue suede stockings at 9:45 AM on December 28, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Urgent care unless your GP has a free spot in their schedule soon.
posted by coffeecat at 10:12 AM on December 28, 2022 [3 favorites]

You may also have luck with drawing salve. I believe this orange one is available at most pharmacies in the US.
posted by BekahVee at 10:25 AM on December 28, 2022

I had same issue. I thought it was bigger, and went to ER. Who had a cursory look. Couldn't find it and said I was imagining it. 2 weeks later I saw GP who also couldn't find it. About 2 weeks after that, I had a little pimple, and husband popped it and glass came out. It was about the size you described.

After the day I did it, I could walk fine. I saw the gp for another reason and mentioned it, and she could feel a lump so froze it and dug around. That hurt for a day or two. No pain after that including the day it popped.

Bases on that, I wouldn't got to Er again.
posted by Ftsqg at 10:28 AM on December 28, 2022

Best answer: Urgent care. Note that you need a tetanus booster if you aren't certain that you've had one in the past ten years.
posted by praemunire at 10:47 AM on December 28, 2022 [1 favorite]

A few years ago my daughter's primary care provider took care of that for her.
posted by metasarah at 10:53 AM on December 28, 2022

In case this helps inform your decision about urgency:

Type of material - Glass (uncontaminated)
Reaction severity- Mild
Reaction type - Encapsulation
posted by aniola at 11:14 AM on December 28, 2022

Best answer: I think urgent care would be appropriate, but I'd make sure they have xray capability, and not all urgent care places do. It is quite common to need to xray a foot to locate glass that is embedded.
posted by citygirl at 11:23 AM on December 28, 2022

A few years ago, a family member of mine stepped on a sewing needle that then broke off in their foot. They were unable to retrieve it themselves. Ended up in the ER, because we were pretty darn sure the GP would not go digging around in there.

She got really lucky - a foot surgery specialist happened to be onsite that day. It took actually putting her under in the ER to get it out. It was about an inch long, straight in, and impossible to get ahold of without tearing apart her foot.

Yes, the xray is gnarly.

Moral of the story is - it depends on how deep it is and where exactly it's located.
posted by stormyteal at 11:25 AM on December 28, 2022

Best answer: Please don't buy one of those drawing salves. It's homeopathic whatever (unless it's not and has something in it that COULD hurt you because this stuff is unregulated) and won't solve your problem, but will cost you money.
posted by atomicstone at 12:02 PM on December 28, 2022 [3 favorites]

I’d call my GP but go to urgent care if they’re not able to get you in this week. FWIW, a family member had a similar issue (small piece of glass stuck in the sole of their foot), saw their GP relatively soon after it happened but not immediately, and the doctor told them a horror story about another patient waiting weeks to seek care and ending up with a very serious infection that almost cost them their foot.
posted by theotherdurassister at 12:48 PM on December 28, 2022

Response by poster: My GP office said they don’t do glass removal so I went to urgent care (CityMD) and they took it out for me
posted by andoatnp at 2:45 PM on December 28, 2022 [10 favorites]

In Canada, that'd be also under purview of chiropodist. (Ref: "The Toe Bro" Youtube Channel)
posted by kschang at 4:40 PM on December 28, 2022

I would go to Urgent Care. They will refer you to the ER, if they cannot handle it.
posted by spinifex23 at 5:36 PM on December 28, 2022

Best answer: What did they do for you? I went to a GP and they scraped it out with a razor blade.
posted by bendy at 11:37 PM on December 29, 2022

Response by poster: What did they do for you? I went to a GP and they scraped it out with a razor blade.

Yeah, this is what they did. Maybe more of a scalpel than a razor blade, but same idea.
posted by andoatnp at 10:00 PM on January 15, 2023

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