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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A finger laceration is a deep cut in your skin. It is often caused by a sharp object, such as a knife, or blunt force to your finger. Your blood vessels, bones, joints, tendons, or nerves may also be injured.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your wound comes apart.
- Blood soaks through your bandage.
- You have severe pain in your finger or hand.
- Your finger is pale and cold.
- You have sudden trouble moving your finger.
- Your swelling suddenly gets worse.
- You have red streaks on your skin coming from your wound.
Contact your healthcare provider or hand specialist if:
- You have new numbness or tingling.
- Your finger feels warm, looks swollen or red, and is draining pus.
- You have a fever.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may need any of the following:
- Antibiotics help prevent a bacterial infection.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Apply ice on your finger for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you apply it to your skin. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
- Elevate your hand above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your hand on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
- Wear your splint as directed. A splint will decrease movement and stress on your wound. The splint may help your wound heal faster. Ask your healthcare provider how to apply and remove a splint.
- Apply ointments to decrease scarring. Do not apply ointments until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You may need to wait until your wound is healed. Ask which ointment to buy and how often to use it.
- Do not get your wound wet until your healthcare provider says it is okay. Do not soak your hand in water. Do not go swimming until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider says it is okay, carefully wash around the wound with soap and water. Let soap and water run over your wound. Gently pat the area dry or allow it to air dry.
- Change your bandages when they get wet, dirty, or after washing. Apply new, clean bandages as directed. Do not apply elastic bandages or tape too tightly. Do not put powders or lotions on your wound.
- Apply antibiotic ointment as directed. Your healthcare provider may give you antibiotic ointment to put over your wound if you have stitches. If you have Strips-Strips™ over your wound, let them dry up and fall off on their own. If they do not fall off within 14 days, gently remove them. If you have glue over your wound, do not remove or pick at it. If your glue comes off, do not replace it with glue that you have at home.
- Check your wound every day for signs of infection. Signs of infection include swelling, redness, or pus.
Follow up with your healthcare provider or hand specialist in 2 days:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.