Infection in finger
by cathyinillinois, Nov 07, 2002
One and a half weeks ago, I (very uncharacteristically) pulled off a hangnail that was close to my nailbed and fairly deep.  Now my finger has a pronounced purplish bump on it and is very hot to the touch.  In the past week, it has gotten worse (bumpier, hotter, discolored) instead of better.  Also it is painful when anything puts any pressure on that part of my finger.  What's going on?  I presume that I have an infection of some sort, but should I be concerned, take any steps, or see a doctor or is it too soon to be concerned?

by Forum-M.D.-DT, Nov 10, 2002
Thank you for visiting the Family Practice Forum.
One of two things is happening here.
Either you have a collection of blood (hematoma) that has collected underneath the skin where the hangnail was, or quite possibly you may have an infection. Pulling these hangnails out does provide a pathway for bacteria to get in underneath the nailbed and tissue around the nail. An infection such as this is called a "cellulitis".
Cellulitis is a term used to describe an infection of the skin.  Cellulitis may be present in the skin on any part of the body.  Certain conditions/situations predispose one to developing cellulitis.  These include diabetes, eczema, burns, swelling of the extremities (edema or lymphedema), poor circulation, burns, surgery,  IV drug use or occupational exposure to skin irritants.  With cellulitis, there is bacteria present which is causing the underlying symptoms.  The type of bacteria present differs depending on the part of the body/skin affected.  Symptoms present with cellulitis include a generalized, confluent red rash which blanches with pressure, tenderness, swelling and occasionally drainage from the area involved. The area is warm and fever or chills are commonly present. The doctor may due a culture of the affected area to help determine the type of bacteria causing the cellulitis. Antibiotics are prescribed for a period of 10-14 days and in severe cases, hospitalization for IV antibiotics and surgical consultation may be necessary. I would suggest you have this looked at by a doctor.
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Member Comments (2)
by cathyinillinois, Nov 10, 2002
Thank you for your assistance.  I went to the emergency room (couldn't get in to see my doctor) and they stated that it was a common occurrance and called it by a "p" name.  I do have poor circulation and I was in a hotel for the conference when this incident occurred, so perhaps that accounts for the infection.

The doctors cut my finger along the nailbed and got some pus out.  I am on Kelflex for 3 days.  When I remove the bandage and put new neosporin/bandage on, I have noticed that there is a white substance near the cut.  Should I clean that out? Is it possible that that is more pus that should be removed?

by Shady42, Feb 08, 2003
I had the same problem.  I had an infection on my thumb because I had pulled a handnail, but when I saw that it was getting bad I started to put peroxide and neosporen on it.  I let the green stuff out myself on accident.  I did not know that it was that bad.  Anyways, my thumb healed up fine, but my arm started tingling kind of like it was numb during that time.  The tingling comes and goes, so I do not know if this is serious or not.  I mean it does not hurt.  It is just annoying.  Is this bad?
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