Ed Sheeran was in Nashville last night performing at Bridgestone Arena. He somehow cut his hand after the show and wound up in a Nashville ER. He posted pictures of his injury on Instagram – did he cut a tendon or a nerve?
How did Ed Sheeran injure his hand?
We don’t know how Ed injured his hand. All we know are some vague circumstances. Most patients who injure their fingers when they’re out in a party environment or even in their house get hurt in a limited number of ways.
The most likely way Ed ended up cutting his hand is with glass, or pieces of glass, probably from a shattered glass he or someone else was drinking out of.
One clue to this is the multiple band-aids you see on his fingers in the second picture. This could be from several pieces of glass.
Sometimes this happens when a patient tries to clean up a broken glass off the floor or counter.
Did he cut a nerve or tendon?
Cuts on the skin from pieces of glass can be serious if the glass is left inside the patient’s hand or if the glass cuts an important structure like a major nerve, artery, or tendon.
Cutting an artery, nerve, or tendon usually requires surgery to fix the problem, but not always on the night of the injury.
These can be serious injuries that can have life-long consequences like permanent numbness, weakness, stiffness, and chronic pain.
Based on seeing these pictures, I don’t think Ed cut a major tendon. Here are some big clues that tell me this:
- The posture of his fingers is normal in the second picture – if he cut a flexor (palm side) or extensor (top side) tendon, his fingers would be bent in an abnormal way.
- The hand is in a simple elastic wrap and band-aids. This means he didn’t need a large splint (with plaster or fiberglass) to provide more protection for a cut tendon.
- The bleeding and bandage are on the top side of his hand in the first picture – usually injuries to the top side of the hand are not quite as serious as those on the palm side.
I’ve talked about major tendon/nerve damage. He could have cut a small nerve in the hand and not need immediate surgery. This may mean he has some permanent numbness on a small area of skin, or he may have some burning pain as the small cut nerves heal.
The bleeding that is soaking through the bandage in the first picture could be coming from a small cut. If a major artery is cut, this means the patient is going back to surgery, not getting sewn up in the ER, so this is not likely what happened to Ed.
What did Ed Sheeran experience in the ER? What did the doctors do to him?
Most people have never had cuts sewn up in the ER. Here’s what happens.
- The doctor tests the nerve, tendon, and artery function in Ed’s hand to make sure nothing was cut
- The skin around the laceration (cut) is numbed up with lidocaine (like at the dentist) with a needle. This stings and burns a lot, then the skin gets numb
- The doctor sews up the skin with needle and thread after washing out the cut with saline solution and cleaning it well
- Clean bandages are put on the hand
- Usually stitches are removed after 10 days – so Ed will probably be in a doctor’s office around the first of October getting his stitches taken out. This doesn’t usually hurt much at all.