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Finger Infection (cont.)

What Types of Doctors Treat Finger Infections?

A primary-care provider (PCP), such as a family practitioner or internist, will often first diagnose and treat a finger infection. A child may see a pediatrician for finger infections. In an emergency situation, you may see an emergency medicine specialist in an emergency department.

If the finger infection is severe, you may be referred to a hand surgery specialist, who may be an orthopedic surgeon or a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. If the infection does not heal properly, you may be referred to a wound-care specialist.

What Follow-up Is Needed After Treatment of a Finger Infection?

The patient needs to understand the doctor's instructions completely and ask any questions needed to thoroughly understand care at home.

  • If the patient has been prescribed antibiotics for a finger infection, he or she must follow the directions and take them for the prescribed time period.
  • Often the doctor will instruct the patient to keep the hand elevated to prevent swelling. This is important and needs to be done both during the day and night. The hand can remain elevated by placing pillows under the hand while sleeping.
  • Wound care will often need to be continued at home. This may include daily warm water soaks, dressing changes, and application of antibiotic ointment. The different types of wound care are extensive. The doctor should explain home-care in detail.
  • The finger or hand may be placed in a splint. This provides both immobilization and protection. It will be important to follow the instructions regarding the care of the splint. The patient will need to protect and properly care for the splint. The finger and hand should be closely monitored to watch for complications such as swelling or infection under the splint.
  • The patient may be asked to return to the doctor's office in 24-48 hours. This may be necessary to remove packing or change a dressing. It is very important that close follow-up care is taken to monitor the progress or identify any further problems.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/19/2016

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Paronychia »

Paronychia is a soft tissue infection around a fingernail.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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