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Home :: Fingertip Injury

Fingertip Injury

Fingertip injuries include:

  • Contusion or bruise with hemorrhage under the fingernail or in the tip of the finger.
  • Lacerated fingernail.
  • Avulsion injury (tearing away of part of the fingertip).

BODY PARTS INVOLVED

  • Last phalanx (section of bone) of any finger or thumb.
  • Skin on finger.
  • Fingernail.
  • Blood vessels, nerves, tendons, ligaments, subcutaneous tissue and connective tissue

Causes

  • Direct violence to the fingertip.
  • Crushing blow to the fingertip.
  • Jamming of the fingertip, as happens when catching balls.

Signs & Symptoms

Fingertip injuries may include any of these signs:

  • Pain in the fingertip.
  • Torn fingernail.
  • Jagged cut in the tip of the finger.
  • Tearing away (avulsion of a part) of the fingertip.
  • Crushed or broken bone in the fingertip.
  • Numbness if the nerve is damaged.
  • Bleeding under the fingernail or external bleeding.
  • Swelling of the fingertip.
  • Bruising of the injured fingertip.

Diagnosis

The attending clinician should evaluate the injury in a careful and systematic manner. The appearance of the hand can provide valuable information concerning presence of fractures, vascular status, and tendon involvement. Bones and joints should be evaluated for motion and tenderness. Nerves should be examined for sensory (feeling sensations) and motor (movement) functioning. Amputations usually profusely bleed and there is tissue loss. The wound is treated based on loss of tissue, bone, and wound area. Injuries to the pulp can be obvious during inspection. Subungal hematoma usually present a purplish-black discoloration under the nail. This is due to a hematoma underneath the nail. Radiographs may be required to assess the alignment of fractures or detect foreign bodies. Patients usually suffer from pain since injuries to the fingertip bone are usually painful and movement may be partially restricted due to swelling of the affected area. Tendon injuries usually result in the loss of ability to straighten or bend the finger.

Treatment

Follow your doctor's instructions. Instructions are supplemental.

Care after surgery to repair a damaged fingertip:
  • Keep the hand elevated to relieve pain and throbbing.
  • Change bandages frequently. Keep bandages dry between baths. If the bandage gets wet,change it promptly.

If a cast is required:

  • Do not allow pressure on any part of the cast until it is completely dry. Drying time varies, depending on the thickness of the cast, temperature and humidity.
  • If the cast gets wet and a soft area appears,return to your doctor's office to have it repaired.
  • Whenever possible, raise the hand. Propping on pillows will keep swelling and discomfort at a minimum.

Home Diet

During recovery from surgery, eat a well-balanced diet that includes extra protein, such as meat, fish, poultry, cheese, milk and eggs.

Prevention Tips

No preventive measures.

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