Bruised Finger

How to Treat a Bruised Finger

            Considering the work that fingers do, it is understandable how virtually everyone has at one time or another had an injury such as a bruised finger.  In continuous use throughout the day, the fingers are at constant peril of being hit, crushed, jammed or otherwise hurt.  Since it is such a common occurrence, it is helpful to know how to treat the injury to hasten healing.




            Fingers are composed of numerous bones, ligaments, arteries and nerves, but actually on 17 muscles.  The majority of muscles that are responsible for moving the hand and fingers are in the forearm.  The concentration of nerves in the digits is the reason that the fingers are one of the most sensitive areas on the human body.  It is also the reason that such extreme pain is felt when an injury like a bruised finger occurs.

            Bruising a finger is easier than one might think.  Sports activities that include using the hands for maneuvering a ball are high on the list of ways to injure the finger.  Work tasks that entail the manipulation of items can also be direct means of injury, as are home projects and accidents in general.  Since we repeatedly point, gesture and motion with our hands, it is inevitable that from time to time our fingers will unexpectedly come into contact with a hard surface.  Sometimes, an injury to the forearm, wrist or hand will result in a bruised finger simply through the process of gravity.

            The soft tissues that surround the bones on the finger are the area directly involved in a bruise.  When an injury occurs, blood vessels can be broken under the surface of the skin.  Blood leaks from the broken vessels into the tissue and pools there.  The outward signs of the bruise are from the color of the blood; reddish at the beginning, purplish blue or brownish black after one or two days, green or yellow within 5 to 10 days and light yellow thereafter until it disappears.  The bruise fades over time as the body naturally breaks down the blood cells and eliminates them.

            Most bruises will take care of themselves over time.  Depending on the severity of the injury, a bruise can last anywhere from a few days to over a month.  To hasten healing and to ease the pain, a finger can be taped to a neighboring finger to provide support.  If additional damage such as small tears in the tissues of the tendon, joint injury or a fracture of one of the bones should occur, the bruising may very well be accompanied by swelling and fever along with the pain.  When acute swelling occurs, numbness of the area may also be experienced.  If these additional symptoms develop along with immediate bruising, a doctor should be consulted for an accurate diagnosis and possible x-rays to treat the finger.

            When the coloration and pain are the sole symptoms of the bruised finger, treatment can usually be handled at home.  Resting the finger, taping it to another finger, applying a cold compress to reduce swelling and taking aspirin or acetaminophen for the pain are the usual remedies recommended.  Keeping the finger elevated keeps the blood from pooling excessively as well as controls swelling.


            Fingers are used in every aspect of life, and continually throughout each and every day.  With the heavy reliance we have on our fingers, it is easily understandable that one out of every 6 work injuries involve the fingers.  Since these types of injuries are so common in everyday life, it is important to know how to treat a bruised finger before it happens.