Broken Finger Tip

Finger tip injuries are one of the more common injuries in the hand. The finger tips are exposed in many of our activities.

Figure 1
Fingertip anatomy


Finger tip injuries can be caused by many things. They can be crushed, closed in a door, or hit by a hammer. A heavy object can be dropped onto the finger. They can also be cut by a kitchen knife, power tool or another sharp object. A finger tip injury can result in damage to the skin, bone, nailbed, tendons and the pulp, the padded area of the finger tip (see Figure 1). You can also damage the nerve endings in the finger tips.


Your doctor will ask you how the injury occurred. He or she will check for good blood supply and make sure you can still bend and straighten the finger. An x-ray may be taken to see if you've suffered a broken finger tip.

Treatment of a finger tip injury depends on the severity. Some treatment options can include:

  • Dressing (gauze, tape, sterile pad, etc.)
  • Splints or metal pins
  • Surgery
  • Amputation

Here are examples of some injuries and how they may be treated:

  • Severe crushing of the finger tip: If just skin is removed from the finger tip or if there is just a little bit of bone exposed at the finger tip, this injury can be treated with a simple dressing. If the injury is more serious, surgery may be needed.
  • Broken finger tip: This is very common. This can be treated with a splint or temporary metal pins to hold the bone fragments in proper position. If the damage is too severe, amputation of the finger tip may be necessary.
  • Nail bed injuries: If blood is collecting under the nail, it may be drained by making a small hole in the nail. If the nail bed is more seriously injured, you may need a splint or even surgery.


Your finger may be sensitive for many months. Sometimes, you’ll have limited feeling in the finger tip. The quality and texture of the skin may be different, and your finger will likely look different.

Talk to your doctor about the best treatment option for you.

© 2016 American Society for Surgery of the Hand

This content is written, edited and updated by hand surgeon members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Find a hand surgeon near you.

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