A finger laceration or a cut on the finger is a common injury and in most cases do not require serious medical attention. You can treat it using home remedies. However, some of these injuries may require medical attention, especially when the cut is deep and has injured major veins. With deep cuts, home remedies usually fail to stop bleeding, which is why you have to see a healthcare provider for assistance. Whatever the nature of the injury, you can take steps to shorten finger laceration healing time. Let's find out what to do and how to return to your normal activities.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from Finger Laceration?
There is no single answer to this question because the healing time depends on many factors. And the time your finger takes to recover ranges from several days to a few months. You usually heal quickly when the wound is small. In fact, light cuts may get better within a week or so, but you may have to wait for a couple of weeks or more if you have a 1cm deep cut. Larger cuts take longer to heal.
Factors That Would Affect Healing Time
So many factors can change a finger laceration healing time. For instance:
- The size of the cut is the first thing to consider. Light cuts heal in a short time, but large and deep cuts require stitches and take a long time to heal.
- The healing will take longer if you develop an infection on the wound site.
- The healing time is relatively shorter for young people as compared to the elderly.
- Any cut on an area that is more sensitive or moves a lot is going to take longer to heal.
- Some medications can affect the healing process by interfering with platelet function, clot formation, cell proliferation, and inflammatory responses.
- Your wound will take longer to heal if you are constantly under psychological stress.
- The healing process slows down when you smoke or drink alcohol – it increases your risk of infections.
- Not paying attention to your diet leads to nutrient deficiency that affects the healing process.
What's more, people who have diabetes or are obese are also going to experience slow wound healing. Similarly, any problems with the circulatory system can also lengthen the healing time, as the tissues in your body do not get enough nutrients and oxygen.
What to Do to Shorten Finger Laceration Healing Time
As mentioned already, certain factors will always affect the healing time, but you can still take some steps to accelerate the process. Here is what you can do:
1. Take Steps to Stop the Bleeding
Simply applying direct pressure on the wound site may help stop the bleeding. You can also push down on the cut with the base of your palm if you have a larger wound. It may also help to squeeze closest to the heart to stop the bleeding, but if it does not work, a tourniquet is usually the last option. Be very careful when applying pressure because you really do not want to hurt a broken bone underneath.
2. Check the Extent of Damage
You may have cut an artery if you notice the blood squirting out. In case the blood is oozing out of the cut, it means you have hurt a vein. Any damage to the arteries can cause serious bleeding, but bleeding from small arteries may stop after squeezing the area for 10-15 minutes.
3. Clean Your Wound
To shorten a finger laceration healing time, it is important to keep your wound clean. You will end up dealing with several complications if an unclean wound becomes infected. Simply run it under water for a few minutes or use saline solution to clean the area. Avoid iodine or peroxide because it can break the wound tissues. You can also use alcohol, but it is probably going to hurt a lot. Be sure to clear any debris on the wound and wash it properly.
4. Close the Cut
You can use tape to close a cut that gapes open. You can use duct tape for this purpose. Here is how to proceed:
- Start by drying the wound thoroughly. It is a good idea to apply some glue to the skin edges – do not apply it directly on the actual wound.
- Take a strip of tape and apply it to one edge, and then take it to the other edge while closing the skin gap with your hand. You can also apply an antibiotic ointment if the cut is on the fleshy part of the finger.
- Use a clean cloth or duct tape to cover the affected area. It is also a good idea to cover it with a breathable bandage or gauze to prevent infections.
Ensure that the bandage is not very tight. Know that it is too tight if you notice any discoloration in the affected area. It may also indicate that the area is permanently damaged and not getting any blood. Also, you should change the bandage if you see any leakage or notice it becoming too moist. You should see your doctor immediately if you notice discoloration in the area or the bleeding does not stop after taking all self-care measures.