How to Treat a Broken Finger Tip

Article featured on American Society for Hand Surgery

The finger tip is one of the most commonly injured areas of the upper extremity because we use our finger tips in so many daily activities. Your finger tip can be injured in a variety of different ways, including being crushed by a door, hit with a hammer, getting stuck under a heavy object, or cut with a knife.

While some finger tip injuries may be minor, others can be more severe. You can the bone, nail bed, tendons or even the nerve endings, which allow you to have sensation in the finger tips. Here’s how to treat a finger tip injury, depending on the severity:

  • Dressing (a gauze wrapping or tape): Dressings can treat more minor finger tip injuries, such as when just the skin is affected or if there is a small amount of bone exposed.
  • Splints or metal pins: These can be used if you’re suffering from a broken finger tip. The metal pins will hold the bone fragments in the proper position.
  • Drainage: If blood is collecting under your nail, your hand specialist may make a small hole in the nail to drain it.
  • Surgery or amputation: These treatment options are reserved for more severe nail bed injuries.

Regardless of which treatment you receive, it’s important to remember that your finger tip may never look or feel the same after an injury, especially a severe one.

Your treatment plan will vary based on your specific circumstances. Visit a hand specialist as soon as you’ve injured your finger tip to determine the best plan. The sooner you receive treatment, the better. Delaying treatment may result in loss of feeling in your finger tip.

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