The European Hand Surgery Center

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The European Hand Surgery Center
Main page / Diseases / Infections on the hand

Infections on the hand

What are they?

Pyogenic infections/ infections often take place within the hands


Causes

Usually, infections occur due to injuries, e.g. slight scratches (made by an animal/or a plant), cuts, animal bites, graze or extensive wound. Such slight injuries of the hand must not be ignored or underestimated, because they may develop into extensive pyogenic infections often resulting in impairment of the hand. Cured infections often leave non-reversible deterioration of the functioning of the hand in the form of joint rigidity, chronic pain.


Symptoms

You must absolutely consult your surgeon of the hand if after an injury your notice:

  • An inflammatory condition (edema, flare, pain, limited mobility)
  • Discharge of contents from the wound (serous fluid, pus)
  • Fever
  • Red “marks” going along the skin from the wound towards the elbow and armpit

There are many factors that are important for development of inflammation condition in a wound:

  • Location of the wound
  • Size of the wound
  • General state of health of the Patient, e.g. concurrent diseases, age, reduction of immunity
  • Foreign body in the wound
  • Mechanism of the injury
  • Examination and diagnosing of the disease
  • Diagnosing of the disease is usually easy. Dactylalgia or melalgia (pain in your finger or limb) , limited or painful mobility call for an appointment with a surgeon of the hand.


Treatment

Wash and disinfect the wound. Do not use alcohol !!

Many infections may spontaneously recover. If the infection keeps developing it is necessary to apply an antibiotic. A slight incision of the hand is sometimes necessary to decompress the purulent contents. In severe cases, hospitalization is necessary and performance of extensive surgical operations. In extreme cases, there may occur the necessity to amputate the hand or its part. A long term rehabilitation session is being implemented during the Patient’s stay in hospital and post-hospitalization period.

The most common infections of the hand

  • Paronychia – purulent infection in the soft tissues of a nail (wall of the nail). It may be caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses.
  • Bulb abscess, the so called Felon
  • Papillomavirus
  • Whitlow - purulent infection in the soft tissues of the hand. Depending on its extensiveness , it can be skin, subcutaneous, tendon, bony, arthrogenous
  • Bone inflammation

Remember

  • Small wounds of the hand must not be disregarded.
  • Wounds must not be licked, because it will result in an infection of the wound with saliva and increase the injury.
  • Wash and disinfect the wound.
  • In case of infection symptoms, ask advice of a doctor.
  • Tetanus and rabies still happen.

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