Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Finger and Toe Trauma - Brief Version
A jammed finger is a finger joint injury from a direct blow
to a straightened finger. A crushed fingertip occurs when a
fingertip is caught in a door. Injuries to the nail bed
usually need stitches.
How can I help my child?
- Bruised, jammed, or crushed finger or toe. Soak it in
cold water for 20 minutes. Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or
ibuprofen (Advil) as needed for pain. Call the physician if the
pain doesn't improve in 3 days.
- Torn nail. If the nail is almost torn through or there
is a large flap of nail, use sterile scissors to cut
along the line of the tear. Sterilize the scissors by
cleaning them with rubbing alcohol. Don't tape pieces of
nail in place because they will catch on objects. Soak
the finger 20 minutes in cold water. Apply an antibiotic
ointment and cover with a Band-Aid. Each day, remove the
bandage and soak the finger in warm water with a pinch of
salt. Call your child's physician if you see any signs
- Cuts. Wash the wound by scrubbing with soap
and water for 5 minutes. Then apply pressure for 10
minutes with a clean cloth (sterile gauze if you have it)
to stop bleeding. Protect with a Band-Aid.
- Skinned knuckles (deep scrapes). Scrub the wound for
5 minutes with water and liquid soap. Flaps of skin
(especially if dirty) should be cut off with sterile
scissors. When the wound is clean, apply pressure for 10
minutes with a sterile gauze to stop any bleeding. Apply
an antibiotic ointment and cover with a Band-Aid. Remove
the bandage and clean the wound each day. Call your
child's physician if you see any signs of infection.
Call your child's doctor right away if:
- The skin is split open and may need stitches.
- Blood collects under a nail AND becomes very painful.
- There is any dirt or grime in the wound you can't get
- A crush injury has damaged the skin or fingernail.
- A finger can't be opened and closed completely.
Call your child's doctor during office hours if:
- The injury looks infected.
- Your child is not using the finger or toe normally after
- You have other questions or concerns.
Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems