Squeezed Finger

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Last Medical Review: March 28, 2020
Medically Reviewed by Dr. David Costa Navarro
Smashed Finger (March 28, 2020)

Squeeze injuries often hurt very much. Muscles and tendons are squeezed together and it often bleeds under the skin. The bleeding produces a swelling that aches and the skin around the pinch becomes blue. The swelling can remain for several days.

When a nail gets pinched, blood can accumulate under the nail and cause a lot of pain. If the nail has been damaged, it can come off after a few weeks.

Press, hold your finger high and cool

If you wear rings on the pinched finger, remove them as soon as possible after the injury to prevent the rings from obstructing blood flow as your finger swells.

Press your fingers around the pinch to stop internal bleeding and prevent the swelling from getting larger. Also, hold the injured finger high, preferably higher than chest height, to reduce swelling and pain.

To relieve the pain further, you can cool your finger with cold water or crushed ice wrapped in a towel. After a while, gently bend and stretch your finger to feel if something seems broken.

If it bleeds under the nail

When a nail is pinched, blood may accumulate under the nail. If it hurts a lot, it can help to make a small hole in the nail and drain the blood.

For example, you can use a blade that has a blunt end and can be heated. Unfold the clip and heat the end of the clip in, for example, a light flame or with the help of a gas lighter. The end must be very hot – red-hot – for it to easily burn through the nail. Hold the clip to the nail and press slightly so you do not risk damaging the skin under the nail. When blood comes out through the small hole, the pain is relieved.

If you want to burn a hole yourself, you should do so within the next few hours before the blood can set. If you feel it is too painful and difficult and you want help with making a hole in your nail, you can contact your health care center. The same applies if a child needs help.

When should I seek care?

Contact your health care center if your finger starts to hurt after a few days.

If you are severely pinched or if your finger is bent unnatural, you should seek care to have your finger examined. You should also seek care if you have lost the sensation in your finger or if you cannot bend and stretch your finger as usual.

If the injury is so severe that your fingertip is pinched, take it with you and go to hospital quickly. You can put your fingertip back again. Wrap it in a damp clean piece of cloth or towel and place it in a plastic bag. Then place the plastic bag cold, in a container or plastic bag filled with ice water. Avoid using only ice cubes as it can get too cold and damage your fingertips.

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