Punctured wounds, when inflicted with a clean, sharp instrument, generally heal quite readily. When the wound is made by rough, blunt, dirty, or rusty instruments, healing occurs much more slowly, violent inflammation sometimes being produced. In cases in which a nerve is injured, but not completely severed, as in a punctured wound produced by stepping upon a rusty nail, lockjaw is likely to occur; hence, wounds of this character should receive prompt attention.

Punctured wounds quite often heal quickly at the surface, while union does not take place in the deeper tissues. This gives rise to the formation of an abscess, making it necessary to make an outlet by opening the wound with a penknife or lancet. When the wound is made by a thorn or splinter, the foreign body should be removed by means of a pair of tweezers. It is useless to pick at the splinter with a needle, as it will be likely either to be driven farther in or to be broken off. When a fish-hook is caught in the flesh, if it is imbedded beyond the barb, no attempt should be made to withdraw it, but the point should be pushed forward until it emerges from the skin, when it may be cut off by means of a file or pair of pliers, and the balance of the hook withdrawn, or the line may be detached and the whole hook pushed through the tissues. If a crochet hook has been thrust into the flesh, a not uncommon accident, the attempt, should not be made to withdraw it directly, but a large knitting or darning needle should be introduced along side of it and placed against the hook, when both may be drawn out together without inflicting further injury.

Not infrequently punctured wounds are made by needles which may either be broken off in the tissues or entirely imbedded. In these cases the parts should be kept perfectly still, as the movements of the muscles of the part may bury it in deeper. If the needle cannot be readily got out, it may be left without any very great danger of doing harm, as it will probably work out of itself. Punctured wounds should be treated by means of hot fomentations or poultices, or compresses of tepid water or carbolic acid lotion.