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Athletic Training

Glass in heel?

02/03/2005

Question:

I recently cleaned up a shattered glass. I was w/out shoes or socks when the glass shattered. I had to walk over the glass to get my shoes. I felt confident that I had not stepped on any glass; however, w/in a day or two, I had a sharp pain in my heel. If I pushed on a particular spot, I had worse pain but I assumed a VERY small piece of glass must have wedged itself into my foot. I had been walking w/out putting too much weight on the foot and recently a much larger piece of glass than I expected to see, had burrowed to the outside of my foot. I had someone remove it and it actually was able to be removed by hand. The problem is that I still have quite a bit of pain in my heel. Could this be another piece of glass inside of my foot? If so, how can I possibly remove it when I cannot even see it (I`m assuming that it is too far inside of my foot)? Can a doctor help me? I am training for an upcoming sixty mile walk and do not want to injure my foot by continuing to walk. What should I do?

Answer:

It sounds as though there could be a very good chance that you do still have a piece (or pieces) of glass in your foot.  You could try soaking your foot in warm water in the hopes that the sliver will work itself out.  Another approach is to cut a "doughnut pad" to help relieve some of the pain with walking in an attempt to normalize your gait.  To do this, get a piece of dense foam (something that will retain it's shape when you step on it--like bunion pads), cut it into a small circle (about 2 inches in diameter) and cut a smaller hole in the middle of that circle.  Place the hole over the spot that hurts and secure the pad.  This will help to disperse pressure from the painful spot. 

If you are still having trouble walking, it would be advisable to follow up with a physician to avoid additional problems like low back pain (sometimes caused by poor biomechanics).  Good luck with your sixty mile walk!!

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Response by:

Brenda  M Klein, MEd, ATC Brenda M Klein, MEd, ATC
Assistant Athletic Trainer
The Buckeyes Online
The Ohio State University