Skip to content
Font Size
A
A
A

Finger Infection

Finger Infection Causes

Bacteria cause most of these finger infections. The exception to this is the herpetic whitlow, which is caused by a virus. How the infection starts and is found in a particular location is what makes each specific type of infection unique. Usually some form of trauma is the initial event. This may be a cut, animal bite, or puncture wound.

  • Paronychia: The offending bacteria are usually staphylococcal and streptococcal organisms. Rarely, a fungus causes this infection, which usually begins as a hangnail. Often a person will attempt to bite off the piece of nail that is at the corner. This results in an open wound that allows the bacteria found on the skin and the bacteria found in the mouth to infect the wound. The infection can then spread to the surrounding tissue next to the nail and cuticle.
  • Felon: This bacterial infection of the finger pad, caused by the same organisms that cause paronychia, is usually the result of a puncture wound. The wound allows the introduction of bacteria deep into the fingertip pad. Because the fingertip has multiple compartments, the infection is contained in this area.
  • Herpetic whitlow: The offending viral organism is the herpes simplex virus type I or II. This is the same virus that causes oral or genital herpes infections. People in certain occupations are more at risk for this infection. These include dentists, hygienists, physicians, nurses, or any other person who may have contact with saliva or body fluids that contain the virus. People with oral or genital herpes may also infect their own fingers.
  • Cellulitis: The most common causes of this bacterial infection are staphylococcal and streptococcal organisms. This infection is usually the result of an open wound that allows the bacteria to infect the local skin and tissue. The infection can also spread to the hand and fingers by blood carrying the organisms.
  • Infectious flexor tenosynovitis: This bacterial infection is usually the result of penetrating trauma that introduces bacteria into the deep structures and tendon sheaths, which allows the spread along the tendon and associated sheath.
  • Deep space infection: This bacterial infection is usually the result of a puncture wound or deep cut that introduces the bacteria to the deep tissue. The collar button abscess is associated with the web space between the fingers. The deep structures of the hand create many potential compartments for an infection to invade.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

sore foot
3 warning signs.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
Epinephrine Injection using Auto-Injector Syringe
Life-threatening triggers.
disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
psoriasis
What it looks like.
checking blood sugar
Symptoms and treatment.
man behind computer screen
10 possible causes.
Woman with itchy watery eyes
Common triggers.
man screaming
Making sense of symptoms.
human liver
What puts you at risk?
caregiver with parent
10 tips for daily life.
two male hands
Understanding RA.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.