A Felon Finger Infection

By Johnny Barthel, OTR CHT

A Felon Finger Infection

Article: Johnny Barthel, OTR, CHT

There are a variety of conditions that can affect the hand as well as the fingers. Infections to the finger may seem to be a small concern, however, it may often lead to something more severe. One type is a felon finger infection. The definition of this condition is a deep infection of the pulp of the finger tip. The usual cause of this condition is someone having a puncture wound (maybe by a wooden splinter) or an injury where the skin is open to the tip of the finger.

The Fingertip or Septae

The fingertip pulp is split into numerous small compartments called vertical septae. These vertical septae divide the pulp and stabilize the skin. The infection gets between the septae where it stays and has the ability to get progressively worse.  Finally, it is important to seek out treatment for this infection.

JOI Treats finger infections

JOI Treats Finger Infections

Finger Infections

Clinically, the patient has throbbing pain at the tip of the finger. The pulp is swollen, warm, and tender to the touch. A collection of exudate, commonly known as pus, may be visible under the skin as well. This injury can be very serious and lead to complications.  An infection in the felon can lead to more serious conditions such as osteomyelitis of the distal phalanx, pyogenic arthritis of the distal
interphalangeal joint, flexor tenosynovitis, or skin necrosis. X-rays of the finger are can rule out the presence of a foreign body or distal phalangeal osteomyelitis.

Treatment of Finger Infections

Non-operative treatment includes the use of warm water soaks, intensive local wound care, oral antibiotics, and careful follow-up. Surgery may be the option for cases with moderate to severe symptoms.  Such as the presence of osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, or flexor tenosynovitis to treat the symptoms. This will help to preserve the tissues, decrease pain, or improve function. In some cases, a physician will make an incision to drain the felon. The incision is near the nail skin margin and can extend to the tip of the digit. Overall, these procedures or modes of treatment should help with assisting an individual in improving his or her function or activities of daily living.

If you need to see a JOI Orthopedic Hand and Finger Physician, please call 904-JOI-2000, or schedule online or click below.

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