Health Topics

Fingertip Injuries

Injuries to the tip of the finger are very common in children. The fingertip area includes the fingernail, the bone underneath the nail, and the skin and fat on the end of the finger. Wounds in this area usually heal well.

After the Fingertip Has Been Repaired

Do not remove the dressing placed on the finger in the emergency room. It must stay clean and dry. The bandage will be removed in the office about 5-10 days later.

Keep the hand elevated higher than the heart. Have your child use a sling when he/she is walking around. Prop your child's arms on pillows when he/she is sitting or lying down. This simple step will decrease both swelling and painful throbbing. Ice packs are helpful, too.

The pain usually decreases after the first 48 hours. During the first two days, pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®) may be necessary. They can be given every 4-6 hours. Ask the doctor or nurse what dose is right for your child. If pain does not improve after an hour of elevation, ice, and pain medicine, contact your child's doctor.

Most fingertip injuries occur when a child is in dirty settings -- places where people are at risk for infection, tetanus, etc. Antibiotics should be taken as directed to prevent infection.

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After the Bandage Has Been Removed

If the Fingernail Was Removed

Last Updated: 10/2011