What are fingertip injuries?
There are many different types of fingertip injuries. Injured components can include:
- padded area of your fingertip (pulp)
This part of your hand has more nerve endings than most other parts of your body, which is what creates the specialized sense of touch in your fingers. Because of how often we use this part of our body, there are many ways for fingertip injuries to occur. You will most likely know if you have sustained such an injury.
Types of treatment
The different types of treatment depend on what sort of injury has been sustained. When a small to medium amount of skin has been taken off the finger, a simple dressing may be applied to heal the wound. If the bone is showing in this case, it may be filed down and dressed. If a large amount of skin has been taken off, a skin graft may be used instead. This graft can be taken in small amounts from the side of the hand, or in large amounts from the forearm.
Another common type of injury is a fracture of the bone at the end of your finger, the distal phalanx. Smaller fractures near the nail bed generally do not affect the strength of the bone itself.
Larger fractures might require a splint or even metal pins in order to properly heal. If there is extremely severe damage to the fingertip, amputation may become necessary.
What to expect after a fingertip injury
In many cases, after the injury and subsequent treatment, the fingertip will be extremely sensitive for weeks to months afterwards. In some cases, this may be permanent. On the flip side, it may alternatively become numb or have a limited amount of feeling. The texture and sensitivity in the skin may be different than the skin surrounding it, and may be discolored. There will likely be some stiffness in the fingertip as well.
In the case of a nail or nailbed injury, if the nail is easily repairable, it will probably heal back to normal and continue to grow as before. If it has sustained severe damage, the nail bed may be scarred or deformed, causing the nail to grow differently or stop altogether.
If the finger has been put in a splint, the splint will probably stay on anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. If metal pins were necessary, they might either stay in the finger permanently or be removed around a month after the injury.
You might be recommended physical therapy to improve movement and strength in your hand, or other types of healing therapy, such as heat and massage therapy.