How to treat a smashed finger
A smashed finger is a common injury that happens accidentally and causes severe pain. It causes severe pain due to the concentration of nerve receptors found in the fingertips. Depending on the severity of the condition, there is a need for immediate care to prevent long-term pain or injury. Damage can involve one or more fingers but if the nailbed is not damaged, it can heal on its own.
Causes of a smashed finger
- Using a hammer
- Closing a door
- Closing the drawer on desks or furniture
- Dealing with heavy wood pieces or concrete blocks
- Playing sports especially baseball
- Moving heavy furniture
- Bleeding of the finger
- Discoloration or bruising of the finger or fingernails
- Loss of a fingernail
- Pain and swelling of the affected fingers and digits
- Difficulty moving the finger
- Apply an ice pack on the affected finger. The cold causes numbness of the hand and lessens the pain. Stay calm to prevent an increase in the flow of blood that can result to severe swelling.
- Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen every 6-8 hours to lessen the pain and swelling.
- Perform deep breathing to calm down and lessen the heart rate.
- Elevate the affected finger above the level of the heart to lessen the flow of blood to the area. While apply an ice pack, keep both the hand and finger raised.
- Check for injuries in the hand. If a nail is partially disconnected from the nail bed and there is dark discoloration under the nail which indicates accumulation of blood, seek medical help immediately. The hematoma requires drainage.
- Take the prescribed antibiotics to lessen the pain and inflammation.
If the smashed finger is not capable of bending, there is injury to the palm bones, damage to the nail bed, broken bones, redness, swelling with pus and fever and the injury does not heal or improve, it is best to seek medical help immediately.
The details posted on this page on smashed finger is for learning purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage joint and bone injuries including a smashed finger, enroll in a first aid course with one of our training providers.