. Fingertip Infection Treatment | Advanced Hand Centre

Nailbed & Fingertip Injuries

A fingertip injury refers to any injury involving the nail bed, bone and pulp of your finger or thumb. Occasionally, it may also involve the flexor and extensor tendons. Fingertip injuries commonly occur in accidents at home, work or play, and can involve a sharp cut, crushing or tearing injury.

 

Because the fingertips are rich with nerves and are extremely sensitive, a fingertip injury without prompt and proper treatment may result in persistent pain, hypersensitivity and numbness. Left untreated, a fingertip injury may also lead to permanent deformity or disability.

 

The nail bed is the part that is most commonly involved in fingertip injuries. Nail bed injuries typically present as nail bed laceration, loss of tissue and nail avulsion. These require prompt treatment to stop bleeding, prevent infection and nail deformity.

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Causes

The fingertip can be traumatised if it is caught between two objects or hit by something heavy, like a door. It can also be damaged by cuts from a knife or a saw.

 

Diagnosis

Upon sustaining a fingertip injury, you should see a doctor immediately who will administer first aid, depending on the circumstances surrounding your injury. It is important to start antibiotics, give a tetanus injection and irrigate or wash out your wound promptly if there is breach of the nailbed or skin to reduce the risk of infection.

 

Treatment

The main goal of treatment is to have a pain-free fingertip with near normal skin and function, hence your hand surgeon will try as much as possible to preserve the length and appearance of your finger.

There are three main treatment options for nail bed injuries, and these options depend on the initial presentation:

  1. Subungual hematomas

Subungual hematomas refer to blood clots underneath your nail bed. This kind of injury is usually caused by your nail getting crushed or hit by a heavy object, resulting in throbbing pain and bruising. The hand surgeon will usually drain the blood clot by using a needle to make a small hole in the nail, overall relieving the pain and pressure.

 

  1. Nail bed lacerations

Nail bed lacerations refer to the nail, as well as the underlying nail bed getting cut. It is usually caused by a saw, knife or even crushing injury. Patients who have a nail bed laceration will observe bleeding, and are able to see the cut through their nail. In severe cases, there may be loss of nailbed tissue. It is important to have the nail bed laceration properly closed with fine stitches, otherwise nail bed deformity may result. It may be necessary to remove the nail to facilitate a proper repair. But fret not, as the nail will eventually grow back.

 

  1. Nail bed avulsion

A nail bed avulsion is when the nail and part of the nail bed is pulled away from the skin of the finger. It usually occurs in people who had their finger stuck or jammed in something. Patients will experience pain and swelling of the finger, with fractures commonly seen with this type of injury.

Treatment option for this injury requires the removal of the nail, and if there is a finger fracture, then splinting or surgery may be necessary.

 

Every case is different, hence it is best to consult a hand surgeon to determine the treatment method that is most suitable for you. Reach out to us today if you are suffering from any fingertip or nail bed injury, and let us help you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fingertip infections are usually caused by some form of trauma, such as a cut, puncture wound or animal bite. Bacteria in these wounds can exacerbate into an infection that usually starts out small and relatively easy to treat. However, quick and suitable treatments are required to prevent an infection from worsening.

Common symptoms of a fingertip infection include: 

  • Swelling around the fingernail
  • Redness around the fingernail
  • Increasing pain in the area
  • Pus leaking out of the wound
  • Feeling unwell

It is recommended that you seek immediate medical attention if you are suffering from any of these symptoms to prevent permanent disability or loss of the finger.

A fractured finger is usually a result of an injury to the hand, such as accidentally slamming your fingers in a door and using your hands to break a fall. A fracture in the fingertip can cause your entire hand to be out of alignment so it is important to get it treated immediately.

Common symptoms of a fractured fingertip include:

  • Swelling at the fracture site
  • Tenderness at the fracture site
  • Bruising at the fracture site
  • Inability to move the injured finger
  • Deformity of the injured finger

It is recommended that you seek immediate medical attention if you are suffering from a fractured fingertip so your doctor can determine which bone you fractured and provide you with the appropriate treatment.

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