JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Fingertip injuries

Q C Wang, B A Johnson
American Family Physician 2001 May 15, 63 (10): 1961-6
11388710
The family physician often provides the first and only medical intervention for fingertip injuries. Proper diagnosis and management of fingertip injuries are vital to maintaining proper function of the hand and preventing permanent disability. A subungual hematoma is a painful condition that involves bleeding beneath the nail, usually after trauma. Treatment requires subungual decompression, which is achieved by creating small holes in the nail. A nail bed laceration is treated by removing the nail and suturing the injured nail bed. Closed fractures of the distal phalanx may require reduction but usually are minimally displaced and stable, and can be splinted. Open or intra-articular fractures of the distal phalanx may warrant referral. Patients with mallet finger cannot extend the distal interphalangeal joint because of a disruption of the extensor mechanism. Radiographs help to differentiate between tendinous and bony mallet types. Most mallet finger injuries heal with six to eight weeks of splinting, but some require referral. Flexor digitorum profundus avulsion always requires referral. Dislocations of the distal interphalangeal joint are rare and usually occur dorsally.

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