Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Bullet stuck in a hand for decades before being noticed

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

A man had this bullet in his hand for 75 years before it started to bother him (see link for some impressive pictures, not shared here because copyright).

It also migrated substantially: look how far it is from the original scar in the wrist! But what fascinates me about these cases is the “why now?” factor. Why would it suddenly start causing trouble, after soooo many years? If a bullet can hide harmlessly in tissue for decades, but then suddenly start to get inflamed, imagine how many examples there must be of subtler flare-ups around less obvious sources of trouble? For every dramatic case like this, there must be a dozen that are harder to diagnose. That’s why I’ve added cases like this to my collection of 38 Surprising Causes of Pain.