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Finger,Hand,and Wrist Injuries

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Home Treatment

First aid for a suspected broken bone

  • If a bone is sticking out of the skin, do not try to push it back into the skin. Cover the area with a clean bandage.
  • Control bleeding camera.gif.
  • Remove all rings or bracelets camera.gif. It may be hard to remove the jewelry once swelling occurs, which in turn can cause other serious problems, such as nerve compression or restricted blood flow.
  • Free a trapped finger or hand from an object, such as a pipe, toy, or jar.
  • Splint camera.gif the injured area without trying to straighten the injured limb. Loosen the wrap around the splint if signs develop that indicate the wrap is too tight, such as numbness, tingling, increased pain, swelling, or cool skin below the wrap. A problem called compartment syndrome can develop.

Home treatment for a sore or sprained finger

  • Use rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) for pain and swelling.
  • If you do not have diabetes or peripheral arterial disease, a sore or sprained finger can be "buddy-taped" to the uninjured finger next to it. Protect the skin by putting some soft padding, such as felt or foam, between your fingers before you tape them together. The injured finger may need to be buddy-taped for 2 to 4 weeks to heal. If your injured finger hurts more after you have buddy-taped it, remove the tape. Then check your symptoms again. Caution: Never splint a finger in a completely straight position, such as on a Popsicle stick. For proper healing, the finger should be slightly bent and in a relaxed position.
  • Stop, change, or take a break from activities that cause your symptoms.

Home treatment for a minor hand or wrist injury

Home treatment may help relieve pain, swelling, and stiffness.

  • Remove all rings, bracelets, or any other jewelry that goes around a finger or wrist. It will be harder to remove the jewelry later if swelling increases.
  • Use rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) for pain and swelling.
  • Do not use your injured hand or wrist for the first 24 hours after an injury, if possible. An elastic bandage can help decrease swelling. The wrap will also remind you to rest the injured hand or wrist. A wrist splint can help support an injured wrist. Talk to your doctor if you think you need to use a splint or bandage for more than 48 to 72 hours.
  • Gently massage or rub the area to relieve pain and encourage blood flow. Do not massage the injured area if it causes pain.
  • For the first 48 hours after an injury, avoid things that might increase swelling, such as hot showers, hot tubs, hot packs, or alcoholic beverages.
  • After 48 to 72 hours, if swelling is gone, apply heat and begin gentle exercise with the aid of moist heat to help restore and maintain flexibility. Some experts recommend alternating between heat and cold treatments.
  • Treat blisters.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 11, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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