Signs of Infection From Stepping on a Nail

Stepping on a nail can cause a painful wound on the bottom of your foot. Worse yet, puncture wounds such as those caused by a nail can cause an infection if not properly cared for. You'll also need to receive a tetanus shot if you have not had a booster in the past 12 years, according to the University of Michigan Health System. If you do step on a nail, monitor the wound for signs of infection. If you do develop an infection, visit your doctor for antibiotics to prevent it from spreading.



When a puncture wound caused by a nail becomes infected, you may notice pus or other drainage leaking or seeping from the wound, according to the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. The seeping fluid can be cloudy or yellowish in appearance.

Red Streaks

A skin infection caused by a puncture wound can cause red streaks to appear around the wound. The skin immediately surrounding the puncture wound may also appear red and may feel warm to the touch, reports MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Pain and Tenderness

Skin infections can cause pain and tenderness at the infection site. In particular, you may notice that the skin around the wound becomes more swollen and tender about two days after you step on the nail, according to the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.


As with other infections, a wound infection can also cause a fever. If you develop a fever and do not have any other signs of common infections causing a fever, it may be because of your wound, according to the University of Michigan Health System. The fever may occur either with or without chills.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

As with other infections, a wound infection may cause lymph nodes to swell. Lymph nodes are found throughout the body, but they are easiest to palpitate in the neck and armpits. Swollen lymph nodes often develop in conjunction with a fever.

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