It’s no surprise that nail bed and fingertip injuries are perhaps the most common type of injuries to the hand. The nail has a protective function for the tip of the finger while the fingertips are used to perform intricate actions like pinching and picking up tiny objects.
Injuries to the nail bed and fingertip are usually more common amongst the younger age group as well in certain job occupants.
The Anatomy of the Nail Bed
There’s more to the nail than the eye can see. The nail complex is built upon three separate layers. The nail plate is the keratinized translucent structure that makes most of the nail complex.
Below this plate is a germinal matrix from where the new nail grows. This layer also supports the nail plate from underneath.
On the sides of the nail plate are the nail folds that not only add a shine to the nail plate but also provide a protective function to the surface of the nail.
Causes of Nail bed and Fingertip Injuries
The nail complex and the finger pulp are injured mostly as a result of crushing injuries. This could be when the finger is crushed in a door accidentally or when operating appliances or machinery. The resultant damage will depend upon how severe the crushing injury was.
Sometimes only a part of the nail gets chipped off; other times the entire nail bed is lacerated down to the fingertip. Such types of injuries can invite infections as well.
If the injury remains unattended, it could cause scarring and adhesions in the nail material. This could result in the nail becoming split or the nail-plate detaching from the rest of the nail complex.
How Do We Treat Nail Bed and Fingertip Injuries?
Proper wound debridement and cleaning is the first step to treating a nail complex injury. Surgery might be required in severe cases to cosmetically repair the shape and appearance of the nail bed as well as to restore the function of the fingertip.
Post-operative care is essential to rapid recovery.