Hand infection is common as the hand is an exposed part of the body. It can cause problems that may persist even after the infection is resolved. These problems include stiffness and loss of strength and sensibility. If the infection is identified early, it can be treated with antibiotics, local rest and soaking, and surgery may not be required. However in most cases of hand infection, it is preferable to do surgery early to drain the pus. This pus can be sent for laboratory testing to determine the type of bacteria causing the infection as well as to determine the appropriate antibiotic to be prescribed.
This is an infection of the cuticle area around the fingernail. It is called as acute paronychia when it results from bacterial infection. This is characterized by redness, swelling, pain and in late cases, by discharge of pus. It is called as chronic paronychia when it results from fungal infection. This is characterized by milder swelling, redness, and minimal pain. Chronic paronychia is frequently seen in people whose occupations involve prolonged exposure to water. For example, housewives, restaurant kitchen helpers cleaning workers, drink sellers etc. It is also seen in habitual nail biters and when manicure has not been done hygienically Early stages can be treated by appropriate antibiotics, more complex or severe cases will require surgery to remove the infected tissue.
A felon is a subcutaneous abscess of the distal pulp of the fingertip.This is usually cause by trauma as a portal of entry. It occurs in the closed space of the fatty tissues of the finger tip and pulp.Open drainage is necessary and probed to ensure all involved septa spaces are exposed. If not treated early, destruction of the soft tissues and even bone can occur.
Septic arthritis and osteomyelitis
Septic arthritis is commonly the result of direct penetrating injuries and spread from adjacent infections. In a couple of days, the joint can be destroyed by bacteria eroding the cartilage surface of the joint. Treatment involves surgery and the adminstration of antibiotics for 4-6 weeks. If treatment is delayed, infection of the bone can occur, which thus leads to osteomyelitis. It typically requires one or more operations to remove infected tissue, and many more weeks of intravenous antibiotics.
Secondary Infections from bites
Dog and cat bites account for 90% of bite infections. The incidence of rabies is rare because of urban vaccination programs for domestic animal. Not infrequently, patients present with Human bite injury. This may either be self inflicted as seen in nail biters or due to deliberate bites or through a fist in contact with the teeth. Treatment involves surgery and intravenous antibiotics. Wounds are frequently not closed after treatment so that any infection can drain out, and deep structures such as joints may be involved.
Infective Flexor Tenosynovitis (Tendon sheath Infection)
Infection of the tendon sheath can occur when a small laceration or puncture wound occurs over the middle of a finger, especially near a joint. This can often cause stiffness, even destruction and tendon rupture. It may lead to deeper infections affecting bone joint and eventually blood. Treatment of tenosynovitis involves surgery and intravenous antibiotics. Immediate surgical drainage of the tendon sheath is required and hospitalization is usually unavoidable.
Necrotizing fasciitis commonly known as flesh-eating disease or flesh-eating bacteria syndrome,is a rare infection of skin and its deeper layers namely the subcutaneous fat and fascia. This infection is characterised by sudden onset and rapid spread that may require amputation and may even lead to death if not identified and treated early. There is a greater risk of development of necrotizing fasciitis in immunocompromised patients like the elderly and in conditions like diabetes and cancer. It requires prompt identification, evaluation and early surgery for debridement along with high doses of intravenous antibiotics
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