Our fingertips play a huge role in our day-to-day activities. A fingertip injury due to blunt force trauma or a crush injury can be incredibly painful and make it impossible to perform the simplest tasks. Finding fast, effective treatment for fingertip injuries is important to ensure that permanent damage or scarring doesn’t occur. Turn to the expert hand specialists at TriHealth Orthopedic & Sports Institute and Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine for customized care you can count on.
Fingertip injuries can affect the bones at the ends of the fingers (distal phalanges), the fingernails or the soft pads of the fingers. Crush injuries are the most common causes of injury to the tip of the finger, but cuts and dislocations can also occur. Some injuries can affect the sensory nerves in the fingertips, which is why it’s essential to get the right treatment for fingertip injuries.
Types of fingertip injuries include:
- Distal phalanx avulsion fracture—broken bone due to a ligament or tendon tear.
- Distal phalanx dislocation—fingertip joint is forced out of alignment.
- Fingertip laceration—a deep cut in the nail bed or skin of fingertip.
- Jersey finger—inability to flex the distal knuckle due to tendon injury.
- Mallet finger—inability to straighten the fingertip joint (distal knuckle) due to tendon injury.
- Nail root avulsion—nail is torn partially or completely away from the nail bed.
- Subungal hematoma—bleeding or bruising beneath the nail.
Fingertip injuries causes
The most common causes of fingertip injuries include:
- Crush injuries
- Lacerations from sharp objects
- Sports injuries
Fingertip injuries symptoms
Symptoms of a fingertip injury will depend on the cause of the injury, but may include:
- Bleeding or bruising beneath the nail bed
- Deformity of the fingertip if the bone has been shoved out of alignment
- Fingertip numbness if nerves are damaged
- Fingertip pain and swelling
- Lacerations of the nail or nailbed
Fingertip injuries treatment
When the fingertip or nail bed sustains an injury, common treatments include:
- Closed reduction—the fractured or dislocated bone is nonsurgically realigned.
- Hematoma decompression—tiny pin holes in the nail bed drain blood and relieve pressure.
- Splinting—a splint stabilizes the fingertip joint as minor fractures, dislocations or tendon injuries heal.
- Nailbed repair – the nail must sometimes be removed and the nailbed repaired to prevent future nail deformity.
- Surgery—surgery is reserved for cases of complex fractures, tendon tears or fingertip amputations.
Fingertip injuries risk factors
Certain risk factors can increase your chances of sustaining a fingertip injury, including:
- Contact sports
- Occupational hazards
Fingertip injuries fingers prevention
It’s impossible to prevent accidents that can cause fingertip injuries, but taking the following precautions may reduce your risk:
- Keeping nails trimmed to avoid nail plate avulsions
- Refraining from high-risk activities like rock climbing or contact sports
- Wearing protective gloves when handling heavy machinery or sharp objects
Make an appointment
Fast treatment for fingertip injuries is necessary to prevent long-term damage to the joint or sensory nerves of the fingertips. Get connected with a specialist who can evaluate your condition create a customized treatment plan. Learn more or make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist: Call TriHealth at 513 246 2300 or our orthopedic partner, Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, at 513 961 HAND or 513 961 4263.