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Smashing Your Fingers: It’s About as Pleasant as it Sounds

by Julie on June 28, 2017

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The mere thought of slamming a car door on your fingertips is enough to make you cringe. Like steering clear of saying cringe-worthy words such as moist and ointment, you likely avoid thinking about this discomfort. However, hundreds of adults (and even more children) accidentally smash their fingers every year. Ouch!


How Do They Happen?

Smashed fingers, sometimes referred to as crushed digits, are common because they result from totally mundane day-to-day tasks. Prepare to cringe at this list of possibilities:

  • Closing a desk drawer on your finger
  • Pounding it with a hammer
  • Catching it in a garage door
  • Bricks (enough said)




Moral of the story: Direct trauma to one or more fingers → smashed fingers



Although the idea of smashing your fingers sends shivers up your spine, the actual incident may result in the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty moving your fingertip
  • Discoloration or bruising of the finger/fingernail
  • Pain
  • Fingernail loss
  • Swelling


After the Accident

Immediately after smashing your finger (and maybe letting out a few choice profanities), get an ice pack on it.

To manage your pain, you can opt for Ibuprofen or the pain reliever you typically use. It’s also a good idea to keep your hand elevated to decrease swelling, uncomfortable throbbing, and pressure.

After the throbbing is gone, try to move your finger. If you can’t feel it or move it, you should visit your doctor.

Seeking Medical Attention

Not being able to move your finger is one valid reason to see your doc. However, other complications requiring medical attention include:

  • Visible finger deformity
  • Signs of infection
  • Injury is further down than your fingertip/may involve a bone (see metacarpal fracture)
  • There’s dirt in the wound
  • The smash created a cut that may need stitches
  • You can see blood built up under your fingernail


What to Avoid

Even on an average day, many of us struggle to get blood flowing to the tips of our fingers. Therefore, proper blood flow may become even more of a challenge after an accident. For this reason, do not wrap your smashed fingers.

Additionally, if you notice blood under your fingernail, resist the urge to drain it without direct instruction from your healthcare provider.

If You Lose a Fingernailkeep-calm-and-carry-on-1426602_1920

Many smashed finger accidents result in fingernail loss. Don’t panic though, chances are it’ll grow back without a problem.

However, be warned — nail growth is slow and it can take up to 6 months to see full regrowth. Apart from patiently waiting, you should watch for any signs of infection such as increased heat, redness, pain, swelling or tenderness.

Time Off Work

Severity of smashed finger injuries range widely, meaning recovery time and adjustments needed to your normal life do too. Your doctor may suggest time off, alternate work duties or a gradual return to work. It depends on your job type and the duties you perform.

For this reason, your doctor will want to know your day-to-day tasks. For example, if your job involves the use of both hands, your duties may need to be temporarily modified. Be prepared to work alongside your employer and doctor to create a safe return to work plan.


The most sure-fire way to prevent smashed fingers is to exercise caution. However, we all know that accidents happen. While it probably isn’t practical to wear gloves at the office to protect yourself in the event of a desk drawer accident, opting for hand protection out in the field is crucial. Fashioned with a pair of anti-impact gloves, your hands will be safe — not sorry.

For multipurpose protection, our Endura® Oilbloc™ Goatskin Kevlar®-Lined Anti-Impact Driver Gloves gloves are a great option. Equipped with durable back of hand and finger impact protection, these gloves are tough AND comfortable. Save yourself from another smashed finger and try them for yourself for free:

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