When to call 911 for hand and finger injuries…
- The person is seriously injured.
- Injury includes amputation.
- Bone is protruding through skin.
- Bleeding cannot be stopped after several minutes of firm pressure.
- Blood spurts from the wound.
- Apply direct pressure until bleeding stops.
- Remove rings and bracelets that may impede bloodflow or compress nerves if swelling occurs later.
- Clean area with warm water and soap.
- Apply antibiotic ointment and a sterile bandage.
- Apply ice and elevate hand to reduce swelling.
- If a finger or part of a finger has been cut off, collect all parts and tissue and place in a plastic bag on ice for transport to the hospital with the person.
- See a health care provider immediately for a deep cut, puncture wound, animal bite, human bite, or a scrape that you cannot get clean or if the cut shows signs of infection.
For Sprains, Finger Dislocations or Fractures
- Apply ice to reduce swelling.
- Keep finger elevated above the heart
- If finger is bent or deformed, don't try to straighten it.
- See a doctor immediately.
See your health care provider if a hand injury shows signs of infection, including redness, swelling, warmth, or discharge.
Other Times to Get Medical Help
See a health care provider immediately for any hand injury if:
The person cannot move the hand or fingers
There are persistent new symptoms
If the person sees a health care provider, the next steps depend on the nature and severity of the hand injury.
For bites, puncture wounds, burns, and some other hand injuries, the health care provider will give a tetanus shotor booster if the person hasn't had one recently. The health care provider will also clean the wound and remove embedded dirt and debris.
For a fracture or dislocation, a doctor will X-ray the hand and may apply a splint or cast.
To prevent or treat an infection, the health care provider may prescribe antibiotics.
Surgery may be required for some hand injuries.
Physical therapyor occupational therapy may be prescribed to assist the person in regaining full function.