Finger Bruises: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Picture of one finger taped to another
Bruises occur when small blood vessels under your skin tear or rupture, most often from a twist, bump, or fall.

Blood leaks into tissues under the skin and causes a black-and-blue colour that may become purplish black, reddish blue, or yellowish green as the bruise heals.

Rest and home treatment can help you heal.

Your doctor may have taped the bruised finger to the one next to it or put a splint on the finger to keep it in position while it heals.

The doctor may recommend exercises to strengthen your finger. If you damaged bones or muscles, you may need more treatment.

Most bruises aren't serious and will go away on their own within 2 to 4 weeks.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Put ice or a cold pack on the finger for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
  • Prop up your hand on a pillow when you ice your finger or anytime you sit or lie down during the next 3 days. Try to keep your hand above the level of your heart. This will help reduce swelling.
  • If your doctor put a splint on your finger, wear the splint exactly as directed. Make sure the splint is not so tight that your finger gets numb or tingles. You can loosen the splint if it's too tight.
  • If you have your fingers taped together, make sure the tape is snug but not so tight that your fingers get numb or tingle. You can loosen the tape if it's too tight. If you need to retape your fingers, always put padding between the fingers before putting on the new tape. Limit use of your finger to motions or activities that don't cause pain.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor's advice about moving and exercising your injured finger.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.
  • Your finger is cool or pale or changes colour.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You have new or worse pain.
  • Your finger does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: May 27, 2016