Cut finger nerve damage symptoms

Cut finger nerve damage symptoms


Nerve damage to your fingers following cuts and wounds usually manifests itself with a tingling, numbness, massive bleeding, diminished two point discriminations or TPD and movement disorders. The later only seen when the injury is in your thumb.

Except for the thumb, the other nerves in the fingers only play the role of receiving sensation and have no role in the movement of the fingers. So if you have difficulty in moving your fingers following a cut except than thumb, there is likely to be a concomitant tendon injury.

But if you have an injury or cut in your thumb, you may have a nerve injury in the presence of a perfectly normal sense that some of the delicate movemaents of your thumb have been impaired.

But this is not the case with the rest of the fingers, and nerve damage is always associated with impaired sensation. Of course, it is difficult to detect this sensory disorder, which we will mention later.


Introduction to nerve injury in fingers

Two point discrimination or TPD

Acute symptoms for nerve injury in fingers

Chronic symptoms for nerve injury in fingers

When to see doctor


Introduction to nerve injury in fingers

Due to the proximity of the finger nerves to the skin and the delicate tissue of the fingers, nerve cut and injury following any kind of cuts and wounds is very common.
This high prevalence is even higher in glass cuts, and there is almost always damage to important finger elements in glass cuts.

So if you have injured by a sharp piece of glass, be sure to get visited by a medical specialist for further examinations.
Each finger has two nerves one on left and one on right side. These two nerves are responsible for transmitting the different kind of sensations like pain and temperature to the brain.


These two nerves are closer to the surface of the palm side of the fingers rather than the backside, and for this reason, wounds and cuts on the palm surface of the fingers are more susceptible to be associated with tendon and nerve damages.

Due to the proximity of the finger arteries to the finger digital nerves, a nerve injury usually is accompanied by sever bleeding.

There are parts in finger that are innervated by both right and left digital nerve branch. Therefor any cut or injury in one branch may not cause complete symptoms of nerve injury.

This is why doctors perform a test called a two point discrimination or TPD to evaluate exactly whether there is any nerve damage to the fingers following a cut or not.

The most reliable way to exam the digital nerve health is done directly by surgical explore.


Two point discrimination or TPD

This test is performed whenever a doctor suspects nerve damage to the fingers following cuts or other types of injuries.
In this test, a paper clip or two needles or pins are used.

While your eyes are closed, he or she gently tap the tip of one or two needles to the skin of different part of finger and asks you whether feel it or not.

You will be asked to determine whether you feel one touch or two.


If the nerve doesn’t have any kind of injury, then you will distinguish between two needles if they are three to five millimeters apart in your fingertip. It is not possible to feel both needle tips if they are closer than three millimeters.

Our finger tips are the most sensitive part of our body that can distinguish between two simultaneous touches.

This test performed between three to five times, and one without the nerve damage is expected to respond correctly to all tests and distinguishes between two and one touch correctly if they are more than three millimeters apart.
If the injured one does not notice the impact of the needle tip or is unable to distinguish between a one or two needle heads, there is a high risk of nerve damage.

For this test, your doctor may increase or decrease the distance between the two needles so that he or she can carefully assess the possibility of injury.

Sometimes you may notice the collision of two needle tips, but this distance is more than five millimeters, in which case there is a possibility of nerve damage.

In any case, the surest way to ensure the health of the nerve after an incision and wound is to examine the nerve directly and see it during surgery.


Acute symptoms for nerve injury in fingers

Hand wounds and cuts are very common and digital nerves may be injured during these accidents. Beside nerves, tendons, ligaments and bones may be injured simultaneously and affect the long term outcome of treatment.

The followings are the main symptoms of nerve injury in fingers:

  • Sever pain

Compared to a person who does not have nerve damage, they feel more pain because the end of the severed nerve is very sensitive and painful.

  • Numbness

Numbness is a definite sign of complete nervous cut. However, this numbness can be felt incompletely. Because, as mentioned above, some part of our fingers have two nerves.

  • Tingling

When the nerve injury is not complete one may experience other symptoms like tingling in all or some part of the finger.

  • Massive bleeding

Due to the proximity of the finger arteries to the nerves, the nerve incision is usually accompanied by more severe bleeding.

  • Diminished TPD test

As mentioned above any kind of nerve damage will diminish the two point discrimination test.

  • Movement disorder

Movement disorder following finger cut occurs only in thumb nerve injury and nerve damage in the rest of the fingers is not associated with movement disorder unless the tendon is damaged at the same time.


Chronic symptoms for nerve injury in fingers

Sometimes a person does not go to the doctor thinking that the wound on the finger is not serious and goes to the doctor late after healing the wound.

In these cases, the following symptoms may indicate complete or incomplete damage to the finger nerve

  • Numbness

Numbness in finger tips may be less sever in chronic phase rather than the acute phase because the other healthy nerve may grow and replaces the injured nerve in the numb parts to some extent.

  • Tingling

When the nerve injury is not complete then some sort of different feeling may be felt in the finger tips. Tingling, needle poking, severe pain and electric shock are among the most common.

If the nerve damage is not treated and repaired properly, it will start to grow abnormally and form a tissue called a neuroma.

This tissue is very sensitive to touch and even a very small gentle touch on the old wound site may be very painful and irritating and causes a condition such as electric shock. This sign is called Tinel sign.


When to see doctor

If you have recent injury or cut in your finger and having any or all of the below symptoms, be sure to visit your doctor as soon as possible.

  • Numbness in any part of finger
  • Tingling or needle feeling in injury site or any part of finger
  • Sever bleeding
  • Severe pain
  • Difficulty in normal movement of finger
  • Having cut by glass
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