Doctor's Notes on Finger Injuries
Finger injuries are trauma or damage to any of the structures within the fingers, including bones, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, nails, nerves, soft tissues, or skin. Accidents, sports injuries, and repetitive motion or normal wear and tear are common causes of finger injuries. Finger injury can include strains, dislocations, and fractures of the bone.
The signs and symptoms of a finger injury depend on the severity and type of injury as well as the exact location of the damage. Common symptoms and signs can include mild to severe pain in the finger, redness, warmth, swelling, deformity of a finger or joint, and difficulty moving the fingers. Other associated signs and symptoms can include discoloration of the skin, pain or tenderness, bruising, and inability to perform tasks with the hand.
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Broken FingerA broken finger can cause symptoms and signs of immediate pain, swelling, and in some cases deformity. A broken finger usually is caused by falls, workplace accidents, trauma such as playing sports, or punching an object. Symptoms and signs of a broken finger are immediate pain, deformation, bruising, and swelling. Home treatment for a broke finger include buddy taping and ice. Sometimes a broken finger needs medical treatment such as moving the deformity back into place or surgery. It takes about six six weeks for a broken finger to heal. Healing may take longer if complications occur such as infection.
Finger DislocationFinger dislocation occurs when the bones of the finger are moved from their normal position. Symptoms and signs of a dislocated finger include pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, paleness of the injured finger, and/or a break in the skin. Treatment involves administering an anesthetic into the finger and then reducing the dislocation to allow the medical professional to realign the bones of the finger.
Finger InfectionFinger infections can be caused by a variety of bacteria and viruses. Types of finger infections include paronychia, felon, herpetic whitlow, cellulitis, infectious flexor tenosynovitis, and deep space infection. Symptoms and treatment of a finger infection depend on the type.
Finger SprainA finger sprain occurs with an injury to the ligaments of the finger. Signs and symptoms of a sprained finger include swelling, pain, deformity, difficulty bending the affected digit, and loss of range of motion. There are three grades of finger sprains. Treatment involves buddy taping or splinting the finger and RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).
Mallet FingerMallet finger is an injury to the outermost joint of a finger. Causes of mallet finger include tendon damage, small, or large fractures. Symptoms of mallet finger include pain, swelling, redness, tenderness, and the inability to extend the injured finger. Treatment for mallet finger depends on the severity of the injury.
Subungual Hematoma (Bleeding Under Nail)A subungual hematoma is a collection of blood in the space between the nailbed and fingernail. Subungual hematoma results from a direct injury to the fingernail. Symptoms and signs include a dark discoloration under the nail and intense pain. Treatment involves icing the injured digit, elevating the injured digit, taking pain medications, and draining the blood beneath the nail.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.