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First Aid for Smashed Fingers

Last updated March 2, 2018

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

Smashed Fingers are common crush injuries involving one or more than one fingers. It may be caused when the finger(s) is caught between heavy objects, such as a boulder, or gets smashed by a door or hammer.

What is Smashed Fingers?

  • Smashed Fingers are common crush injuries involving one or more than one fingers. It may be caused when the finger(s) is caught between heavy objects, such as a boulder, or gets smashed by a door or hammer
  • The force on the finger is such that it can result in severe pain, bruising, bleeding, broken bones, and injury to the nerves

What are the Causes of Smashed Fingers?

Smashed Fingers are caused by a variety of factors including:

  • Automobile accidents
  • Sports-related injuries, such as while playing basketball or cricket
  • Occupational hazard related, while working with mechanical equipment or tools
  • Working with bricks, concrete blocks, or large wooden pieces
  • Fingers getting jammed in doors and windows, or while moving heavy furniture
  • House or wall collapse

Some injuries are minor, while others may be major resulting in severe hand or arm damage.

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Smashed Fingers?

The common signs and symptoms of Smashed Fingers may include:

  • Moderate to severe pain
  • Bruising or discoloration, bleeding
  • Crushed skin tissue, muscles, and bones
  • Swollen finger(s)
  • It is difficult and very painful to move the affected finger(s)
  • The finger nail, bone, and/or joint is affected; deformation of the finger or hand
  • Hairline fractures or fracture that may be severe or compound

How is First Aid administered for Smashed Fingers?

First Aid tips for Smashed Fingers include:

  • Clean visible wounds with water
  • Apply an icepack to injury site, to reduce swelling and pain; do not apply ice directly to the skin, wrap it up in a cloth or towel
  • Stop any bleeding by applying pressure, using a sterile dressing or a clean cloth
  • Administer over-the-counter painkillers to obtain relief from pain
  • In case of a fracture, do not move the affected finger(s)
  • DO NOT try to immobilize the finger, unless advised otherwise (and if you are trained in basic first aid care)
  • A tetanus shot may be necessary, in case an open cut/wound is seen
  • Take the individual to emergency room (ER) for further treatment

Who should administer First Aid for Smashed Fingers?

  • Any individual, in close vicinity of the injured person, can provide immediate comfort and first aid
  • In case of a severe injury, seek medical help as soon as possible

What is the Prognosis of Smashed Fingers?

  • The prognosis for Smashed Fingers may depend upon:
    • The severity of the trauma
    • The extent of injury; whether more than one finger is involved
    • Whether the finger joint or palm joint is involved
    • Whether the tendons and nerves are damaged
  • Minor cases have a much better prognosis than moderate to severe injuries. Often, in the case of a minor injury, basic first aid and home care may be sufficient treatment
  • In case of major injury, it may result in considerable pain, broken finger bones, permanent damage, or even loss of the involved digit (in extreme cases)

How can Smashed Fingers be Prevented?

A few helpful tips to prevent Smashed Fingers:

  • Utilize suitable PPE (personal protective equipment) while performing certain dangerous activities, outdoor activities, or while participating in certain contact sports
  • Educate children on basic safety measures
  • Carefully supervise children at parks and playgrounds
  • Use seatbelts in motor vehicles
  • Add safety features, such as non-slick patches and handrails to the stairs, to avoid fall injuries

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Do NOT try to straighten the finger if it is bent following the injury
  • Apply icepack to reduce swelling and take a suitable painkiller for pain

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Aug. 22, 2017
Last updated: March 2, 2018