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I have a broken sewing needle in my foot for two weeks,still experiencing a throbbing pain

I had a X-ray done to confirm that there is a broken sewing needle in my foot. There was, between the toes, slanting downwards. An antibiotic was prescribed-Keflex and recommendations of soaking the foot in warm water and was informed that it might come out on its own. Im finished with the antibiotics, there is less puffiness of the toes , soak my foot in warm water with epsom salts. Im still experiencing some throbbing but not constant, (Im on my feet for 8-12 hrs I work in an emergency room) and there is a black-bluish lump now. Should I be worried. The staff physicians suggest to really think it over in having it dug out and I should try to live with it.


RESPSONSE

Hi,

Up to this point you have not really gotten very good advice. If the sewing needle is lodged in the foot there is almost no way it is coming out on its own.
You can soak your foot for a year and the only way the needle will come out by soaking is if it is partially exposed. If it is partially exposed, it can be removed manually.
So what are your options?
Depending on how big the embedded piece of needle happens to be, they have been known to burrow backwards and deeper into the tissue (more so than coming out) and in many cases if they burrow deep enough and are not hitting any structures like a tendon or nerve, there is a good chance they could stop hurting.
The other option of course is to have it removed. Depending on the experience of the doctor dealing with the problem, sometimes they can be removed in a setting like an Emergency Room , but more than likely will have to be removed in the operating room.
You know the old saying "its like looking for a needle in a haystack".... well sometimes removing a needle can be almost as difficult.
Many times just opening up the original entry site where the needle initially penetrated and then lightly probing the area, the needle can be "felt" and removed.
However, if that does not end up being the case with you, the needle can be identified under ultrasound and then usually removed.
Of course, I have not seen your x-ray, nor do I know how long the needle is, but if the needle is angled, more than likely if it were to get pushed back, it would probably hit one of the toe bones or perhaps the head of the metatarsal and this would prevent it from being pushed even further back.
The fact of the matter is if the needle hurts then it has to be removed; it is just that simple.
One caveat. You mention the area has a black and blue lump. If that lump is in the spot where the needle entered the foot, then you might be developing a sterile abscess which is the bodies way of walling off the needle (foreign body). The good news here is that if indeed you have developed an abscess, have a doctor carefully open it up, because in many instances the head of the needle will be sitting there and can be easily removed.

Marc Mitnick DPM
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Comments for I have a broken sewing needle in my foot for two weeks,still experiencing a throbbing pain

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Dec 25, 2016
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Needle in fit for 40 years
by: judy

I stepped on a needle when I was 20 but never found it. When I was 40 a doctor found it on X-ray when I had a sprained ankle. He said it was encapsulated and he advised leaving it. Now I am 61 and it's difficult to walk because the foot with the needle in it always is sore when I walk. Guess what? It migrated and has now penetrated into my heel bone. I am going to ask the current podiatrist to remove it - should be pretty easy to locate now!! I have had fibromyalgia for about 5 years and I am now wondering if this is the cause. If he says no I am getting a second opinion. I cannot be in a choir, I can't walk farther than into a grocery store without pain. I advise anyone who has a foreign body in their foot to insist it get removed.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Depending on the size of the needle, it may actually be difficult to remove, but having said that, if it is causing you too much pain, then it should be removed.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Aug 02, 2016
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Hidden threat 're sewing needles!
by: Nora

Just in process of recovery (hopefully) after stepping onto a very fine sewing needle. Didn,t discover until 4 days after it stuck into my foot causing horrible and immediate pain, the remnants of the needle, in the carpet. Not a large piece, say half inch. It went into foot near instep, just below big toe joint.

Luckily at my local walk in centre, an excellent doctor came on duty and after viewing the xray decided to do something about it there and then.

Freezing the foot took 10mins, he then carefully made a small incision and managed to retrieve, what he said was all except the last fragment, fearing maybe too close to nerve are. So ,could be , at later date further localised, anaesthetic surgery maybe necessary. Penicillin 4 times a day for a week, good dry dressing for 3 days, a visit to my own g.p. and triage nurse who dressed it in lighterdressing, with some for me to carry on with, and the wound is healing well.
A week after treatment, today, after my first day venturing out and about, my last penicillin capsule swallowed, I feel so much better. Today my walk in centre phoned about my progress. I now have a number to contact if more treatment is needed.
DON,T ignore the problem. The minor surgery was easily coped by me at my age of 75, just need to follow after care instructions and keep foot elevated when sitting. I used stick to walk about the house so keeping pressure of the wound where
possible.

Jun 09, 2016
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needle stuck in heel no exit
by: barbara

Just wondering if I should I have foot surgery
------------------------------------------------

If it hurts, yes, if you are worried about it getting infected, yes, again.

Marc Mitnick DPM

May 12, 2016
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Stepped on a sewing machine needle
by: Anonymous

A few years ago I stepped on a sewing machine needle and thought it was just a stone bruise because it's swole up but you could not see a place where the needle went in. About four days later I started getting a red line up my foot and up my leg about 24 hours later my tongue started swelling and I had a hard time speaking and was running a fever. I lived in a small town and the hospital with a good ways from me. Luckily my son had good eyes and could see something down in the bottom of my foot they lanced it open and took out the sewing machine needle that was broken into pieces, I'm very grateful they did because the infection started getting better but then about two days later it started getting worse again. I was told anytime that you have a puncture wound and it does not bleed that is not good. I ended up in the ER they gave me antibiotics and a tetanus shot and I started getting better they diagnosed me with something called cellulitis because the sewing machine needle I stepped on was full of bacteria.

----------------------------------------------

This is a perfect example of how sometimes a simple trauma to the foot can turn into a serious medical problem. Thank you for your comment.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Dec 22, 2015
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Needle in foot
by: Lindsay

I accidentally stepped on a needle, thought nothing of it and then a week later but toe became swollen. I went to the ER and the doctor gave me antibiotics and I was told not to go through with surgery unless it was causing me a lot of pain. Right now I have a hard soled shoe which makes walking very easy and incredibly unfashionable... But hey I can walk. I don't want to go through surgery and I feel the needle is almost coming to a peak under my skin so I can only pray that the needle makes it way out of my body on its own.


RESPONSE
The needle will probably not make its way out of your foot, but what might happen is that since it is a foreign body, it will form an abscess (large pimple like structure). By incising into the abscess, pus will come out and in most instances the needle will be visible and easily removed.

I am not sure you have been given the best advice in the E.R. Sure, walking around in the surgical shoe that they gave you makes it feel better, but what is the end game strategy? Are you supposed to wear the shoe the rest of your life?

Even if the needle is not exposed but is just under the skin, removing it is not a big deal. A little local anesthesia, a tiny incision, and the needle is out.

I would suggest you see a podiatrist in your area. BTW, you did not mention if you had a tetanus shot or not; one would be a good idea.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Oct 05, 2015
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full needle broken in half in arch of my foor
by: Anonymous

Just had an xray today for pain in heel had it for 8 months. Just discovered I have a whole needle but broken in half in my foot . I stood on a needle when I was about 8 I am now 49 and havnt had any bother. I am going for an ultrasound scan to see after all these years if the area around the needle has become inflamed due to it maybe moving.

May 08, 2015
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Broken needle in my foot
by: Anonymous

Nine weeks ago I had a broken needle lodged in my foot which I had surgically removed. The wound took four weeks to heal and while the bottom of my foot is just about back to normal (apart from a slightly sensitive area where the cut was at it's deepest - .98 cm) the top of my foot is causing me quite a bit of pain. It is almost constantly swollen and tender and I cannot put my full weight on that foot. I'm beginning to wonder if the rest of the needle is still lodged in my foot. I'm wondering if the pain could be a result of the rest needle still being in my foot or perhaps there was some damage done to my foot during the operation. I'm desperate to get some answers

Apr 12, 2015
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Don't pay for expensive doctor bills!
by: Anonymous

I went to the emergency room after having the needle break in my foot for five days. They said it was too deep for them to cut on my foot and was afraid that they might push it in further. They said I needed to go to a foot specialist for them to do it under x-ray. They gave me a tetanus shot and some painkillers and sent me home. It didn't hurt that much but when it was hurting I took the pills. It was 17 days later that the hole where the needle was had gotten big with fluid inside. I opened it up the fluid came out and guess what? The needle emerged right out my foot without even squeezing it! I put alcohol and Neosporin and a Band-Aid on my foot and everything is great. I didn't have to get my foot cut on! Yay! Your body should reject the needle in no more than one month. Just keep an eye on it don't keep squeezing it let the fluid buildup it's not a real bad infection because it had no smell and eventually it will come out on his own.

Dec 20, 2014
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I had a broken sewing needle in my heel
by: Lenora

I stepped on a sewing needle and was not sure if it broke off in my heel of not. The pain was excruciating and I would get shooting sharp pains thru my heel. I went to my family Dr. Who sent me for an X-Ray. It was confirmed that an inch long needle went straight up into my heel. It was in there for about a week by the time my Doc sent me to the ER. They froze it(the pain of the freezing needle was terribly painful), cut open my heel, located the needle , but we're unable to remove it. They called in a plastic surgeon, who was able to remove it while my heel was under a low radiation X-ray machine. Thank God he was able to remove it and I am on the road to recovery. He informed me that they are almost impossible to remove unless you do it under an X-Ray machine!

Dec 01, 2014
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Needle in toe
by: Anonymous

What was the end result? I got a sewing needle, eye part first, stuck in my big toe and it went into the toe bone. The needle broke in there and it took me the entire day to figure out what I'd done. At the ER the next day, they did x-rays and the ER doctor tried to get the needle out with his own little impromptu surgery, but couldn't find it. The toe was stitched back up with the needle still in there-- so painful and frustrating, and I was referred to a podiatric surgeon. He took is own x-rays and explained that he'd have to do surgery at a surgical center (or the hospital) under fluoroscopy (a big real-time x-ray machine), pinning the area to find the needle. In the meantime he said I needed medical clearance for the surgery. That became the next problem, due to my high blood pressure and heart rate. I couldn't pass the EKG test, and my red blood counts (iron) were too low. Although I'd been on Kefex (antibiotic) since the ER, and the ER doctor felt he had flushed the toe well, I developed a bad infection in my toe, making surgery an emergency, and as such, and the podiatric surgeon went ahead and operated without any medical clearance. After the surgery, when the numbness started wearing off, the pain was very bad. I was given Vicodin, which I took for the rest of that day, night, and half of the next day. Then I switched to large amounts of Motrin. By Day 3, I was feeling far less pain and from there I healed quickly. I still get odd pangs in that toe, 10 months later, but there's no sign of what happened... I can't even see the scar anymore. It's taught me to be very careful and not to talk my general health for granted, because having to wait 9 days while you can't get medical clearance for surgery, and you're infection is getting worse and you're in pain, was very hard. When it happened, people said, "Only you", which was annoying, because it was an accident and accidents happen to everyone.

Oct 10, 2014
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Same here
by: Anonymous

Just found out today off the X-rays I have a needle in my left foot and it's broke in two pieces. Doctor doesn't want to do the surgery and said it should be fine. Said the scar tissue should keep it secured and the risk of surgically removing it is not worth it:/

Aug 08, 2014
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try this
by: pat mcalpin

I had this happen with a finish nail gun went off at wrong time was in my leg went to sears and got magnet strong one it pulled it out enough to get pliers on it hope this helps you />?

Clever idea, but that does not deal with potential issues such as infections including tetanus. My opinion is these situations require medical care.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Feb 28, 2014
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Small World
by: VS

I too stepped on a needle when I was about 12 years old. It broke off in the ball of my foot with the eye of the needle (still had thread attached) going in first and the rest of the needle found in the rug it was hidden in. The ER doctor made 2 cuts to find it and it was removed. The only lasting effect was that after this procedure I have forever had no sense of feeling in the ball of my foot. I've gotten used to that over the years, but sometimes it is still a nuisance not to feel anything right there.

Nov 11, 2013
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needle
by: stacyinNC

I have had a needle in my toe since I was 15 years old. The docs tried to take it out but couldn't. I am 38 now and it never really bothered me until recently. The tip of my big toe is numb or tingly. I figured by now it would have resolved by now. I have had a full life. I was in the Army I ran marathons, chased kids around now I hog farm. So you'll live with the needle in your toe its a nuisance sometimes ..

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Dr. Mitnick, Just want to say thank you so very much for your quick response and very informative reply! After reading what you had to say, I called the doctor's office and was able to get in and see him the same day as my injury. Toe was x-rayed and luckily, it is not broken or fractured. Very badly bruised and will probably lose the toe nail. And although my toe and toe nail are still very black and blue and very sore, they ARE both starting to feel a little better. So again, thank you! I am so very happy that I came across your website. The service you provide is outstanding and immeasurable!

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Wonderful advice

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This is the best site for foot problem info.


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Many Thanks Dr Marc!
Thank you for your response. It sounds like a good plan to me. He did not cut the wart out first ...

KG

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Thank you. you were more detailed than what others have told me they finally called from the last xrays and my son is now in a cast for 2 weeks he did have a fracture that was not noticeable.

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