How to treat finger injuries at home
Your fingers are important appendages. You use them for everything from picking things up to showing affection to taking care of yourself. They’re also one of the easiest parts of your body to injure. Most people have accidentally trapped a finger in something, cut their finger while cooking or bent a finger back too far. There are 14 digital bones in each hand, each one of which could potentially be broken. Finger injuries often aren’t too serious, but you should still know how to take care of a finger injury. A little first aid knowledge can go a long way and help you to care for small wounds.
Bruising a finger is an easy thing to do. Trapping your finger in a door, missing a nail with a hammer or even whacking your hand while gesticulating can all lead to bruising of various severity. When you bruise a finger, it can lead to pain and stiffness. Your finger might be out of commission for a while. Sometimes, it can affect the nail, which might even fall off. If you bruise your finger, you can treat it right away by icing it to reduce pain and swelling. Use an ice pack or something else cold (See here), but make sure you wrap anything frozen rather than apply it directly to your skin.
Elevating your hand as much as possible is also a good idea, especially in the first day or two after hurting it. You can take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to help relieve any pain and help to reduce swelling. A jammed finger might hurt a lot, but it’s often just bruising and will soon heal.
Cuts and Abrasions
Cutting or scraping your finger is easy to do. Whether you slip while holding a knife or fall over and scrape your hand on the ground, it can be painful to deal with. Small cuts and abrasions are easy to treat. Start by washing or disinfecting the wound to prevent infection and use a dressing, bandage or plaster to keep it clean (See our range of plasters). You don’t need to keep it covered until it’s completely healed, but it’s certainly helpful if it’s still an open wound. H-shaped plasters are ideal for wound care for fingers and knuckles, making it easy to wrap them around the area. You can find out more about different types of plasters and their uses here.
Fractured fingers are more common than you might think, and some people can even break a finger without realising it. Some broken fingers aren’t particularly bad injuries and will heal quickly without much medical intervention. Others might immediately appear to be broken, pointing in an odd direction or sometimes the bone might even come through the skin in particularly bad fractures.
If you suspect that your finger might be broken, it’s best to seek medical attention to check. An urgent care centre or walk-in clinic is a good idea if there is one available, as a broken finger isn’t serious enough for accident and emergency. Your local pharmacy can also be a good option, as the pharmacist can take a look and advise you further on finger fracture treatment. Unlike other broken bones, there often isn’t a huge amount that can be done about a broken finger. You are unlikely to be given a cast, for example. However, there are some things that can help it to heal faster, such as using a splint or strapping your broken finger to another finger to hold it still (Like one of these).
As with bruised fingers, try not to move your finger too much and keep it elevated if you can. Icing your finger and taking painkillers can help to reduce pain and swelling.
You can also sprain a finger or, most likely, your thumb. A sprain is where you tear or twist a ligament, the tissues that connect your joints. A finger ligament injury might happen when you bend your finger back too far. You can apply sprained finger treatment using the RICE method too – rest it, ice it, use a bandage for compression and elevate it. A pharmacist can help with a sprained finger or sprained thumb by recommending treatment. A sprain should heal within a couple of weeks.
Injuring your finger can be painful and annoying, but finger injuries are often easy to treat. If you rest your finger and perhaps use a bandage or a splint when you need it, it should heal fairly quickly. If you’re not sure about the best way to treat an injury, you can ask your pharmacist or GP, or perhaps visit a walk-in or urgent care centre.