How to Treat an Injured Finger: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to Treat an Injured Finger: 14 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Treat an Injured Finger: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

Although it causes a lot of pain and is an irritating injury, hurting a toe is not a serious thing. Still, when the injury is more serious, there is always the possibility that an internal problem has occurred, such as a fracture or torsion of the ligaments. Because of the risk of complications such as osteoarthritis, it is important to recognize and know how to treat both types of finger injuries, as first aid can be valuable.


Method 1 of 2: Using Basic Toe Bruise Treatment

Treat a Stubbed Toe Step 1

Step 1. Check the condition of the finger right after injuring it

The first treatment measure is to analyze the extent of damage at the site; carefully remove shoes and socks from the injured foot. Examine it and be careful not to make the situation worse by handling your finger in any way (ask a friend for help). Look for the signs below:

  • Crooked or misaligned finger;
  • Bleeding;
  • Toenail broken or out of place;
  • Bruises;
  • Lots of swelling or discoloration;
  • Depending on the evidence found, the treatment will be different. Read on for specific suggestions.
  • If the pain is very severe and you are unable to remove your shoes and socks, there is probably some kind of fracture or sprain in your toe or foot. It is not a serious condition, but it is important to consult a doctor so that the proper treatment can be carried out.
Treat a Stubbed Toe Step 2

Step 2. Cuts and abrasions need to be cleaned and disinfected

When you notice that there are parts of the finger where the skin has suffered an open injury (bruises, cuts, abrasions and breaks in the nail), do the hygiene to avoid an infection. Wash it thoroughly with soap and hot water, drying slowly using a clean cloth or paper towel. Apply an antibacterial cream on any part of the skin that is broken and protect the finger with a clean bandage.

  • Replace dressing every day during recovery.
  • Read this article to learn how to perform the procedure exactly.
Treat a Stubbed Toe Step 3

Step 3. Apply ice to reduce swelling

It is normal for a toe stumbling to feel pain and at least a little swelling, leaving you feeling awkward, heavy, and even more vulnerable to discomfort. Luckily, it's simple to reduce swelling using a cold compress using one of several methods; a gel compress, which can be cooled, a bag of ice, or even a container of frozen vegetables.

  • Regardless of what you use to make the cold compress, wrap it in a towel or cloth before placing it against your skin. There is a risk of frostbite when direct and prolonged contact of the skin with the cold, worsening the injury.
  • For the first 24 hours after injuring your toe, apply ice for 20 minutes whenever you are awake. Afterwards, it is enough to perform the application two or three times a day until the pain disappears.
  • Learn more about applying cold packs here.
Treat a Stubbed Toe Step 4

Step 4. Don't put pressure on your finger

Even everyday activities can be uncomfortable when there's a toe injury; to reduce swelling and pain, try shifting some of your weight onto your heel while walking and standing. It can be tricky to find a balance in this way of walking, as throwing all your weight onto your heel will make you walk awkwardly and lead to pain after a while. Do your best to just take the pressure off your finger and not feel pain while walking.

  • When the swelling improves, giving some cushioning (a gel insole, for example) helps to minimize discomfort while walking.
  • If the pain does not improve after an hour or two, it may be better to stop doing physical activities for a few days, until there is no more discomfort.
Treat a Stubbed Toe Step 5

Step 5. Check that there is enough space for the toe in the shoe

The ideal is to wear any footwear that does not increase the pressure exerted on the injured toe, protecting it. If you don't have any other shoes, loosen the shoelaces.

Open shoes, such as sandals and flip-flops, may be the best choices. In addition to not putting pressure on the sides and top of the finger, it's easier to change dressings and apply compresses with them

Treat a Stubbed Toe Step 6

Step 6. Use over-the-counter medications to treat persistent pain

Usually, they disappear after a short time; if it doesn't, take painkillers to fix the problem, at least in the short term. There are several options, such as Tylenol (paracetamol) or an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such as Advil (ibuprofen) or naproxen (Flanax). All can be purchased without a prescription at any pharmacy.

  • Follow the dosage instructions contained in the package insert. Exaggerating the dose of medicines, even over-the-counter, can be dangerous.
  • Do not give aspirin to children.
Heal a Broken Toe Step 6

Step 7. Wrap the injured finger next to the finger just beside it for added support

If you want, put a small piece of cotton between them so that the humidity in the place does not increase too much.

Change the cotton every day

Treat a Stubbed Toe Step 7

Step 8. Lift your bruised toes to reduce swelling

They need to stay above body level while sitting or lying down. For example: when lying down, place your foot on several pillows so that the injured toe is elevated. This technique helps to reduce blood circulation to the site, causing the bruise to gradually deflate. Whenever you sit or lie down, it's a good idea to keep your finger raised so that it doesn't get so swollen.

Method 2 of 2: Identifying More Serious Problems

Treat a Stubbed Toe Step 8

Step 1. Watch for persistent pain and inflammation

As stated in the introduction, stubs on the big toe are not serious bruises; the only indication that there has been any major damage is the presence of discomfort after a few minutes. If the pain does not improve at the same time that a normal blow would have been relieved, you will probably need some special treatment. Pay attention to the symptoms below:

  • Pain that doesn't improve within an hour or two.
  • Discomfort returns after applying pressure to the finger.
  • Swelling or inflammation that makes walking difficult or even making it impossible to wear shoes for a few days.
  • Discoloration similar to a bruise that lasts even after two or three days.
Treat a Stubbed Toe Step 9

Step 2. Look for signs of a fracture

When the stop is too strong, the finger bone may break; in this case, you will need to take an X-ray and put on a splint or cast. Some of the signs of fracture are:

  • An audible sound that something has broken or gone out of place.
  • Check that the finger is bent, misaligned, or at an awkward angle.
  • Unable to move the injured finger.
  • Prolonged pain, inflammation and bruising.
  • Be aware that in many cases, broken toes do not incapacitate the patient to walk. Being able to walk normally is not sure that there is no fracture.
Treat a Stubbed Toe Step 10

Step 3. Look for signs of subungual hematoma (blood under the nail), which is also common after toe trauma

The pressure between the accumulated blood and the nail can lead to inflammation and swelling for a long time, making recovery a long and uncomfortable process. In this case, the doctor can make a hole in the nail, allowing the blood to flow out and the pressure to be lowered, in a procedure called trepanation.

Treat a Stubbed Toe Step 11

Step 4. See if the nail is broken

Finger injuries can cause part (or all of the nail) to detach from the nail bed, which is extremely painful. Home treatment may even be possible in certain cases, but the ideal is to consult a doctor, who will recommend the most effective ways to reduce pain, protect and fight infection.

In addition, if the injury is severe enough to break the nail, there is also a high chance that there has been a fracture or a problem that needs medical treatment

Relieve Ingrown Toe Nail Pain Step 2

Step 5. Watch for signs of infection

Foot stubs can usually be treated with home care, but always be on the lookout for signs of infection; when you notice increased pain, redness, swelling, numbness, a stinging sensation or fever, go to the emergency room as soon as possible.

Treat a Stubbed Toe Step 12

Step 6. Make an appointment with a doctor if the injury appears to be serious

All of the problems mentioned above (finger fractures, bruises and broken nails) are all good reasons to see a doctor. The provider may order x-rays or other imaging tests to accurately diagnose your condition. In addition, experts have the training necessary to instruct you and demonstrate how to protect your finger during recovery. Again, it's important to remember that the vast majority of bumps don't even need medical attention, but if there's any reason to believe something more serious has happened, see a doctor.

Always follow your doctor's recommendations rather than those posted on the internet. His opinion is always more authoritative and accurate than the tips present in this and other internet articles


  • After stumbling, stop doing any activity (even if you believe there was no major injury). Swelling from minor trauma ends up making the finger more prone to more serious injuries.
  • It can be difficult to know if there is a more serious problem with a stubbled toe because the feet are full of nerve endings. In other words, even minor bruises can hurt a lot, as if it were something serious. Therefore, it is even more important to look for signs of serious injury after injuring a toe.

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