Although a burn on your finger is a very small area relative to your entire body, a burn on the finger can cause significant impairment and disability.
If you have a small, minor first-degree thermal burn on the finger, you can treat this at home. If you have a burn more serious than this, you should seek treatment at an emergency room or burn center. All chemical and electrical burns should receive treatment from medical professionals.
How to Treat a Burn on the Finger at Home
If you have a small, superficial first-degree burn on your finger caused by heat, and not by chemicals or electricity, it is likely safe to treat this injury at home. Remember to always check with your doctor to be certain. After the initial first aid, you should continue moving the hand normally to prevent loss of function or range of motion.
Keep the wound clean and well-moisturized. Clean the wound twice daily with a mild antiseptic and water, checking for signs of infection, blisters, or any changes in appearance or feel.
If there are signs of infection, blisters, or any adverse changes to the wound, see your doctor at once. Use of burn creams or ointments is optional.
Dressings are also optional, but not often necessary for a first-degree burn. Since you must wash your hands frequently, dressings can be inconvenient, as you need to change them whenever they get wet or soiled.
If the burn is between your fingers, make sure you keep your fingers separate to prevent sticking.
What can I expect with a more serious burn?
After the initial first aid, your treatment team will evaluate whether your skin is capable of healing itself or if skin grafts are necessary. In most cases, your team will determine this within the first two weeks after your burn.
The hands and fingers are much more complex than other areas of the body. Your fingers perform a multitude of tasks that can become impossible after a severe injury like a burn. For this reason, you will likely need an evaluation by an occupational therapist soon after completion of the initial first aid.
The occupational therapist will evaluate whether the damage to your finger is likely to impair the function of your finger after healing is complete. The therapist will determine if splinting is necessary, and if so, whether the splint should be rigid or flexible. The type of splint may change as you progress through the stages of healing.
The burn on your finger will require cleaning twice a day. At each cleaning, your treatment team will examine the wound for any signs of infection or worsening of the wound. They will remove dead tissue from the wound (called debriding) to promote the growth of healthy new tissue.
Your burn team might recommend using pigskin or semisynthetic nylon gloves to protect your hands. These gloves debride the skin and are less painful than the twice-daily wound washings.
How do I relieve pain from a burn on my finger?
While finger burns are often fairly minor injuries, they can be quite painful. Fortunately, you have a few options to relieve pain from a burn on the finger:
- Running your burn under cool water (remember, never use cold water or ice)
- Burn cream
- Over-the-counter medications
Is there anything else I should know about caring for a burn on my finger?
More serious burns destroy layers of skin and require regrowth. During this period of regrowth and healing, your skin will be especially sensitive to sunlight. Take extra precautions when you plan to go outside. Consider wearing gloves and/or staying out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is strongest.
Ask your doctor how long you need to protect your burn from sun exposure and whether it is safe to use sunscreen on your burn.
Once your burn has healed completely, you can begin using a scar cream to reduce the scar’s appearance.
Can I recover compensation if my burn was someone else’s fault?
While finger burns seem like minor injuries, they can lead to expensive medical bills and significant disability. If your burns were the result of another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. We will help you connect with a lawyer who can help you file an injury claim.
Call our legal referral specialists today at 844-549-8774.