Finger injuries are usually not serious and should not be a cause of concern. These can involve minor cuts, scrapes, and wounds. However, there are also finger injuries that can cause severe pain and serious complications if not treated properly such as damage to the finger's bone, tendons, and ligaments. Left untreated, the finger may become deformed and even lose its function.
Different Types of Finger Injuries
• Laceration – A type of finger injury characterized by cut on the skin or through the blood vessels, nerves, or tendons underneath the skin.
• Avulsion – This one occurs when a portion of the skin has been torn off.
• Amputation – In this injury, tissue has been completely cut off from the finger.
• Fingernail Injuries – It is an injury on the fingernail that can also cause damage to the bone underneath.
• Fracture – This refers to a broken bone, often associated with injuries on the fingernails, tissues and ligaments.
• Dislocation – When a finger is dislocated, the joint is moved out of the normal alignment.
• Ligament Injury – Also called a sprain, it involves tearing of the tissue that holds bones together at a joint.
• Tendon Injuries – This happens when the tendon is torn away from the bone it is attached to.
• Nerve Injuries – This is the injury on the nerves that supply sensation to the finger.
Home Self Care
If you experienced a cut, the first thing you need to do is to control the bleeding by applying direct continuous pressure. Elevating the hand above the heart level will also help slow down the bleeding. Remove any loose dirt or foreign substance on the wound. If there is anything deeply embedded, don't try to remove the object by yourself. Place the wound under running water for a few minutes. Dry with a clean cloth and apply an antibacterial ointment to prevent infection. Cover the wound using a clean dry bandage.
If there is any torn or missing tissue, look for it and save it. Rinse it with running water and place in a sealed plastic bag. Place this bag on ice and bring it with you to the hospital. If the finger is deformed, use a splint to immobilize it on the position that gives the least pain. A splint can be anything from a popsicle stick to a pen or a piece of cardboard. Minor cuts and scrapes don't require immediate medical condition. They can be treated at home and be cured after a few days. However, serious injuries like amputation and fractures should be treated as an emergency. Infections from minor injuries also require a visit to the doctor.
To prevent injuries to the fingers, be careful when using heavy machinery such as chain saws, snow blowers, and other power tools. Always wear protective leather gloves when operating such tools. Never wear rings or any other jewelry that can latch onto the tool. It's the same with using knives, scissors, and other sharp objects.
Another common cause of finger injuries is during sports and athletic events, particularly ball games like basketball, baseball and football. Always have first aid ready to treat finger injuries that may arise while playing. Remove rings and jewelry before you participate in sports activities.