What is a fingertip Injury?
A fingertip injury may include skin, bone, nail, nailbed, tendon and the padded area of the fingertip. The nerve endings allow the fine sensations we have in our fingertips, that is located in the skin on the palm side of our fingertips, can be damaged. Exact replacement of this specialized skin may be difficult when injured.
What causes a fingertip injury?
It is one of the more common injuries in the hand. Fingertips are exposed in many of daily activities. Injuries can result from crushing, such as a closing door, a hammer or fall of a heavy object or from a sharp cut like a knife or a power tool.
How are they evaluated?
Examination will reveal the size and extent of injury. Sensation, as well as circulation and mobility of the tip will also be checked as injuries can occur to tendons that bend or straighten the fingertip. An x-ray is often needed to evaluate the extent of bony injury.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Severe crush or avulsion injuries can remove all or some of the tissue in the fingertip. However, if the injury only consists of skin and the defect is less than a centimeter in diameter, it is often possible to treat these injuries with simple dressing changes. For larger skin defects, skin grafting or a skin flap may be required.
For fractures of the bone in the tip of the finger, repair of the soft tissue such as the nail bed usually re-aligns and stabilizes these bone fragments. Fractures closer to the joint may require a splint or even a temporary metal pin(s) to hold the bone fragments in proper position. Reattachment of a completely amputated fingertip by microvascular surgery may be possible in select cases depending on the nature of the injury. In patients with severe damage to the fingertip, amputation may be the best treatment.
This information provided is meant purely for educational purposes and may not be used as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should seek the advice of your doctor or qualified healthcare provider before starting any treatment or if you have any questions related to your health, physical fitness or medical conditions.
Hand & Reconstructive Microsurgery Center