Your child just came running home from a baseball game. He’s yelling his “head off” because he smashed his finger. You finally calmed him down. Now what do you do?
If the injury only involves just the end of the finger, then you may not have to see a doctor. There are various types of injured fingers.
According to the book, “Taking Care of Your Child,” fractures of the bone at the end of a finger does not need to be treated unless it involves the joint. Many doctors feel, however, that it is unwise to put a splint on a finger even if there is a fracture of the joint. The reason for this is that it may increase the stiffness of the joint even after it heals. On the other hand, some doctors feel that putting a splint on the fractured finger can ease the pain. It is believed that sometimes stiffness of the joint can persist whether a splint is placed on the finger or not. A parent should discuss with the doctor the advantages and disadvantages of splinting.
If the injury involves other parts of the finger, and if the child can move the finger easily, then ice packs can be applied to help a swelling go down. If there is a great deal of pain involved in the smashed finger, a doctor might suggest taking aspirin.
There is another type of injury that can occur at the end of a smashed finger. This is when there is blood under the fingernail due to the accident. This can also be very painful. Dr. Robert Pantell suggests in his book to bend open a paper clip with a pair of pliers, and heat one end of it while holding the other end with the pliers. When the tip of the clip is hot, place it on the nail while still holding onto the pliers. The heat will melt its way through the fingernail, leaving a small clean hole. The person who performs this procedure should make sure that the hand holding this hot paper clip goes only through the nail and not into the flesh. This procedure will allow the trapped blood to go through the hole. When this occurs, the pain will leave.
Although this procedure may be a good one to relieve the pain, Dr. Pantell states that this can be dangerous in very young children because an infection can develop in the bruised finger. This is when a visit to the doctor can be helpful.
Source: Taking Care of Your Child by Robert H. Pantell, M.D.. James F. Fries, M.D. and Donald M. Vickery, M.D.