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Smashed fingers

  • Alternative Names

    Finger(s) - smashed; Crushed digits

    First Aid

    Apply an ice pack to decrease the swelling. Over-the-counter pain medications may help relieve discomfort.

    If pain becomes excessive, with blood under the fingernail, talk to your health care provider. Your health care provider may assist you in taking the following steps to relieve the pressure and prevent the fingernail from falling off.

    1. Heat the end of a bent paper clip (or a similar size metal wire) over an open flame until it is red hot. Use a pair of pliers to hold the paper clip during sterilization.
    2. While it is still very hot, touch the tip of it to the injured fingernail. This is not a painful procedure for most people.
    3. The heat of the clip will burn a small hole in the fingernail. It is not necessary to press hard on the fingernail to burn a hole.
    4. As the paper clip is removed, blood should start releasing through the small hole. If not, retry the procedure until blood comes out and pressure is relieved.
    5. The pain will be relieved as the pressure is released. Keep the finger dry for 2 days.
    6. This procedure can be repeated, if necessary, if the hole closes over and the pressure rebuilds.
    7. Wash the finger carefully before and after the procedure. Seek medical help if the crush area is very dirty, if the procedure doesn’t work, or if the finger looks like it might be infected. You may need antibiotics.

    Do Not
    • DO NOT Splint a smashed finger without first consulting your health care provider. You may decrease finger movement.
    • DO NOT Try to drain a swollen finger unless your health care provider instructs you to do so.

    Call immediately for emergency medical assistance if

    Call for immediate medical attention if the finger is deformed, or if the injury is not limited to the tip of the finger.