Fingertip injuries are quite common at home, play and work. These injuries can occur once a fingertip slams on a vehicle door, slicing vegetables or when clearing out debris from a lawnmower.
The injuries can be tearing, crushing or amputation. The injury includes damage to the skin, soft tissues, nail and nailbed and even the bones. The tips of the longer fingers are usually damaged more since they are the last to escape from harm’s way.
It is important to note that the fingertips are filled with nerves and highly sensitive. Without immediate care, fingertip injuries can affect the complex functioning of the hand, even resulting to permanent disability and deformity.
First aid care for fingertip injuries
Before seeking treatment from a doctor, the following measures must be carried out:
- Elevate the affected arm and apply an ice pack to minimize the swelling and bleeding
- Wrap the fingertip wound using dry, sterile dressing
- Immobilize the affected hand and wrist using a short splint
In case the fingertip is completely sliced off, you have to perform the following:
- Gently clean the amputated part using water
- Wrap using gauze wrap
- Place inside a water-tight bag
- Place the bag on ice
- Do not store the amputated part directly in ice since it will further damage it
To recognize and manage bone, muscle and joint injuries to the fingers, enroll in a course on first aid today.
Diagnosing fingertip injuries
When planning the treatment, it is vital that the doctor is aware of the circumstances of the injury. The doctor will ask about other health problems such as diabetes and whether medications are currently taken.
The doctor will administer digital block anesthesia to relieve the pain on the affected finger. The wound will be washed out using saline solution so that it will be easier to examine the wound clearly. The doctor will check for missing tissue, exposed bone and nail injury.
After the examination, the doctor will debride the wound, remove dead tissues and other contaminants to reduce the risk for infection. An X-ray can be requested if a broken bone is suspected. In case blood has accumulated beneath the nail, the doctor will pierce the fingernail to relieve the pressure. An antibiotic or tetanus shot can be given to prevent infection.
Treatment for fingertip injuries
The objective of treatment is to have a pain-free fingertip that is covered with healthy skin. The hand of the individual must be able to feel, grip, pinch or perform normal hand functions. The doctor will also try to preserve the length and appearance of the finger. The treatment that the doctor will provide will depend on the angle of the cut as well as the extent of the injury. In addition, the overall health and lifestyle of the individual are taken into consideration.