Finger Bruise (Contusion)

You have a bruise (contusion). There is swelling and some bleeding under the skin, but no broken bones. This injury generally takes a few days to a few weeks to heal. During that time, the bruise will typically change in color from reddish, to purple-blue, to greenish-yellow, then to yellow-brown.

A finger bruise may be treated with a splint or buddy tape (taping the injured finger to the one next to it for support). Minor bruises likely will need no other treatment.

Home care

  • Elevate the hand to reduce pain and swelling. As much as possible, sit or lie down with the hand raised about the level of your heart. This is most important during the first 48 hours.

  • Ice the finger to help reduce pain and swelling. Wrap a cold source (ice pack or ice cubes in a plastic bag) in a thin towel. Apply to the bruised finger for 20 minutes every 1 to 2 hours the first day. Continue this 3 to 4 times a day until the pain and swelling goes away.

  • If buddy tape was applied and it becomes wet or dirty, change it. You may replace it with paper, plastic, or cloth tape. Before taping, put a thin strip of cotton or gauze between the fingers to absorb sweat. This will help prevent any breakdown of skin or fungal infections. 

  • Unless another medicine was prescribed, you can take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen to control pain. (If you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or gastrointestinal bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.)

Follow up

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. Call if you are not improving within 1 to 2 weeks.

When to seek medical advice 

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Increased pain or swelling

  • Hand or arm becomes cold, blue, numb, or tingly

  • Signs of infection: Warmth, drainage, or increased redness or pain around the bruise

  • Inability to move the injured finger or hand 

  • Frequent bruising for unknown reasons

  • The fingernail becomes raised, and blood seems to be collecting under the nail. This may need to be drained.

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