Every day we put our hands to use, which is why it’s no surprise that we often injure our fingers. Fortunately, most finger injuries are not serious and heal on their own, but sometimes just by catching a ball or using an awkward grip can cause tendons to be torn or joints to be dislocated, or a finger fracture.
How can you distinguish between what may be a bruise and what finger injury should be evaluated by a doctor? Let’s start with the serious stuff. You should schedule an appointment to meet with your primary care doctor if you are experiencing:
- Severe pain and cannot put any pressure on the injured joint.
- Finger deformation. If your finger is deformed compared to the fingers next to it or the same finger on the other hand you may have a dislocation or fracture.
- Difficulty moving the injured joint.
- Numbness, coolness or discoloration in any part of the injured area.
- Redness or red streaks spreading out from the injury.
You should also seek a professional opinion if you injure an area that has been injured several times before or if you have any doubts or concerns about the seriousness of the injury or how to care for it.
You will need prompt medical attention if your finger is dislocated or fractured; a doctor will have to realign your bones or at least splint the bone until the break is healed. If a tendon is fully torn in your hand, you may need surgery from a qualified orthoapedic surgeon to put it back together.
If your injury doesn’t warrant a visit to the doctor, manage it with pain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) will also help limit pain and additional damage.
Remember, the longer you wait the higher the risk of your injury developing into something more serious. If you suspect something is wrong with your hand or fingers, don’t hesitate to schedule a doctor’s appointment and seek the treatment you need to feel better!
At VOSS, Dr. Richard Knauft is our fellowship trained hand surgeon. Dr. Knauft has active memberships with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery, American Association of Hand Surgery and Portsmouth Academy of Medicine. He specializes in hand and wrist reconstruction surgery. Contact us today to make an appointment with Dr. Knauft or call 757.215.3789.