How to manage a puncture wound caused by a nail?

Fact Checked

It is important to note that puncture wounds are caused by any sharp object particularly a nail that penetrates deep into the skin layers and leaves behind a wound in the skin. These wounds are susceptible to infection since the bacteria can be driven deep into the skin and can be difficult to thoroughly clean.

Puncture wounds can be mild or severe depending on the body part involved, condition of the nail as well as the depth of the puncture. In some cases, tetanus can develop which is an infection of the nervous system triggered by bacteria. This has always been an issue of concern when it comes to puncture wounds triggered by a dirty or rusty nail. The treatment for a puncture wound caused by a nail should be carried out in a healthcare facility to prevent infection from developing as well as the potential complications.

If a family member sustained a puncture wound either from a nail or any pointed object, make sure that it is properly cleaned. If the wound appears deep, it is best to have it checked by a doctor as soon as possible.

Puncture wound
Once the puncture wound has been properly cleansed, you can apply a light dressing in order to keep the wound dry and clean as well as absorb any seepage.

Cleansing of the puncture wound

Flushing the puncture wound can help eliminate any dirt or debris left inside when the nail punctured the skin. Always bear in mind that puncture wounds introduce bacteria and debris deep in the skin, thus increasing the risk for infection.

Puncture wounds should be irrigated with continuous stream of water for at least five minutes to flush out any contaminants. After irrigation, you can clean the area using warm, soapy water. As for the debris that could not be removed with irrigation, they should be removed under sterile conditions in a healthcare facility. You can learn more about proper wound care by enrolling in a course on first aid today.


Antibiotics are typically used to prevent infection from developing in the puncture wound, especially in cases where the nail that caused the puncture is rusty or dirty. A topical antibiotic cream can be applied over the puncture wound once it has been properly cleansed to prevent infection.

In most cases, puncture wounds are not sealed with sutures due to the risk for infection and must be closely monitored for any signs of infection. Puncture wounds that heal at a slow rate, turns red or painful to the touch or even leaks pus requires medical care.


Once the puncture wound has been properly cleansed, you can apply a light dressing in order to keep the wound dry and clean as well as absorb any seepage. You can utilize sterile gauze or non-stick pads to cover the puncture wound. These can be secured in place using a hypoallergenic or medical tape. Always change the wound dressings on a daily basis or if it becomes soiled until the wound has completely healed.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional

  • All content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.