Finger/Nail Injuries or Infection
Our fingers and finger nails are involved in almost every aspect of daily life. They are therefore, very susceptible to injury and infection.
Healthy fingernails will have a pinkish color with the occasional flecks of white and “half moon” of white appearing at the nail bed. Bumps and ridges are normal, however severe alterations of the nail’s surface can indicate an underlying infection or fungus.
Cuticles are a common source of infection, especially resulting from picking, biting or the use if unsanitary manicure tools. If you spot a reddened or swollen area with red streaks radiating from the cuticle, this can indicate an infection that requires medical attention right away.
Pain or a tingling sensation in the fingers can mean several things: cramps from overuse, Carpal Tunnel, flexor tendon injury, ganglion cyst compression on a nerve in the hand, arthritis, diabetes or any number of immune disorders.
- Redness or swelling around the cuticle might signal infection
- Joint pain, stiffness or tingling in the fingers or joints can point to nerve compression, arthritis or an overuse syndrome
- Limited range of motion accompanied by swelling, bruising and stiffness in the presence of an injury could indicate a broken bone
- Deep ridges or loss of the fingernail may be due to fungus or infection
Who is at risk?
Symptoms related to overuse of a joint can happen at any age to persons engaged in repetitive motion activities. Cuticle damage is especially notable in children who bite and pick at their fingers; this could result in a limb-threatening infection if redness and swelling does not receive proper medical attention. Anyone can sustain an injury to the fingers or nails requiring a visit to your physician for x-rays and splinting.
A physician will stabilize a fracture by taping or splinting the finger. Surgery is a last resort that would most likely be required if the breakage is accompanied by nerve or tendon damage or if the bone fragments are seriously out of alignment. A finger or nail infection might require your doctor to drain the abscess followed by prescribing antibiotics. Let a doctor help you make that decision before the infection spreads or escalates into something worse. Tingling sensations may be checked through evaluating your vital signs and possibly ordering bloodwork to check you for anemia, Diabetes and Vitamin B deficiency. Tingling or pain without injury is sometimes related to pressure on a nerve which can also be evaluated and treated by a medical professional.
Emergency Warning Signs: When should I see a doctor?
Severe range of motion limitations and infection are the chief warning signs that immediate medical treatment is necessary. If you are unable to move the finger unassisted or if red streaks radiate from a swollen area, seek a doctor’s advice.
Treatment for finger and nail injuries or infection is available at Mountain Lakes Medical Center in Mountain Lakes, NJ.
For more information on finger/nail injuries or infection, see the following websites:
eMedicineHealth Assessment of Finger Injuries
Disclaimer: The links above are to sites independent of MtLakesMedical.com. The pages will open in a new browser window. The information provided is for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your doctor. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding your specific medical questions, treatments, therapies, and other needs.