Finger Bruises in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Picture of one finger taped to another
Bruises occur when small blood vessels under your child's 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 your child 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 child's finger. If your child damaged bones or muscles, he or she 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 child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child 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 child's skin.
  • Prop up your child's hand on a pillow when you ice the injured finger or anytime your child sits or lies down during the next 3 days. Try to keep the hand above the level of your child's heart. This will help reduce swelling.
  • If your child's fingers are taped together, make sure the tape is snug but not too tight. You can loosen the tape if it's too tight. If you need to retape the fingers, always put padding between the fingers before putting on the new tape.
  • If the doctor put a splint on the injured finger, make sure your child wears the splint exactly as directed. The splint should not be so tight that your child's injured finger gets numb or tingles. You can loosen the splint if it's too tight.
  • Give pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Make sure your child follows the doctor's advice about moving and exercising the injured finger.

When should you call for help?

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

  • Your child has 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 child's finger is cool or pale or changes colour.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child has new or worse pain.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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