I smooshed my finger between 2 heavy rocks 8 or 9 days ago...
March 23, 2020 7:20 PM   Subscribe

I smooshed my finger between 2 heavy rocks 8 or 9 days ago...

while recreationally landscaping, i clobbered the end of my finger between two big rocks, it hurt a lot, but the pain passed, and my entire nail turned light purple (like an accent nail!). I resumed normal activity after about 15-20 minutes and it was on its way to feeling better. I've done this lots of times. But this time, out of the blue today, it started hurting moderately, much more than it had anytime since the initial incident and ~20 afterward. Finger is a little swollen, slightly warm to touch, and now tender. finger bends as normal but doesn't like to type, or be squeezed. Metafilter, what is going on?
posted by hollyanderbody to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Also, I really meant what COULD be going on. YANMD etc thank you!
posted by hollyanderbody at 7:24 PM on March 23

Well soreness and warmth can mean "infection" so get it looked at! Not a doctor but that seems clear.
posted by emjaybee at 7:39 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

We are not really equipped to diagnose this for you as laymen, and this is not the kind of thing you want an amateur diagnosis on. I would contact your physician to get information from someone with a medical degree, and I would do so sooner rather than later, given the expected influx of patients.
posted by WCityMike at 7:40 PM on March 23 [4 favorites]

The warmth worries me. It sounds like a potential place for infection, in my very uninformed opinion. I'd consider calling a medical advice line at the least.
posted by Alensin at 7:42 PM on March 23

You should definitely see a doctor.

But as an idea of the kind of thing that COULD cause this, my husband had the same thing with a toe recently. He stubbed it on a rock outside, and it got better over the next day or so, then after about a week got worse again, and showed signs of being infected. He even went to the doctor (and they told him to keep an eye on it and come back if it got worse, but hopefully you have a better doctor). Anyway, after another day or so he decided to explore it with a sterilised needle. It turned out a splinter of rock or something had actually gone in under the skin, but not left a visible wound on the toe. He removed it and everything went back to normal.

That said, DO see an actual doctor.
posted by lollusc at 8:05 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]

If it's like what happened to my thumb (caught in the closing of a door, right on the nail), there's blood and maybe pus trapped under the nail, and the pressure is building, which is causing the hurt. With a simple cautery (a hot wire formed into a tight U, and electrified), they burned a hole through my nail, and there was a squirt as the pressurized fluid burst out. Note, it stinks like burning skin, a smell which is like B.O. amplified a thousand times. It's short-lived but very foul.

A hot needle, above, can also do the job. I think you don't have much to worry about, and that this will be a quick trip to the doctor. If the pain and pressure does get too high before you can make it to an appoinment, and you know your limits, then, well, in your shoes I'd use the needle. Keep everything sterile, clean the area, bandage well, and make a judgment call once the pressure is released.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:08 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]

If you have access to a free medical helpline through your insurance or your regular doctor's office or something like that, this would be a good time to call them. With the pandemic going on, I'd try to avoid going into a doctor's office for any reason unless you're specifically asked to go in.
posted by bright flowers at 8:49 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]

I did what you did, except at the gym & between two weights. I like Sunburnt's advice about relieving any pressure under the nail, but in normal times I'd also be looking for a course of antibiotics in case of infection. That might not be possible now, depending on how hard you're locked down - so be extra sure to keep it super-clean and use whatever antiseptic wash or ointment you have available.

In another week or two, your nail will fall off. By then, the nailbed should have healed & started to regrow a new nail, at least enough to keep it from hurting too much when it's exposed. Don't pull the nail off before it's ready, let it fall off by itself.
posted by rd45 at 2:24 AM on March 24

If you fear it is infected, immediately start soaking it in warm/hottish water and salt, 3 or 4 times a day. This will begin to draw it out - and sometimes is all you need to do.
Might be hard to see a doctor given the current situation...
posted by dustpuppy at 12:49 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]

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