Hand infections can cause serious problems and symptoms, both before and after the infection is resolved. They can result in stiff hands, weak hands, and loss of tissues such as skin, nerve and bone. It is important to visit a hand surgeon immediately and get early treatment if you have signs of one of these hand infections:
1. Atypical Mycobacterial Infection: This infection can result from puncture wounds from fish spines or contamination of a wound or cut from stagnant water (in nature or from aquariums). It will come on gradually, and you may feel stiffness and swelling.
2. Bite Wound Infection: This can be caused by a human or animal bite due to bacteria in the mouth. Seek treatment immediately after a bite wound.
3. Cellulitis: This is a skin infection that can cause skin redness, warmth, and pain. People with cellulitis may have a fever or feel sick. Seek treatment immediately, as this infection can cause serious problems.
4. Deep Space Infection: One of the compartments or “deep spaces” of the hand can become infected even from a small puncture. A pocket of puss may form at the base of the thumb, on the palm, or between the fingers.
5. Felon: A felon results in a painful, throbbing fingertip. It can occur after a gardening injury or activity involving sharp objects near the fingertip.
6. Herpetic Whitlow: This is caused by a herpes virus that is seen commonly in healthcare workers who are exposed to the virus. It will result in blisters, usually on the fingers, that are small, swollen, painful and blood-tinged.
7. MRSA: This is a bacterium resistant to usual antibiotics used to treat infection. It can come from community places such as gyms, dorms or daycares. Symptoms include lumps similar to boils, sometimes with puss. MRSA can cause seroius problems, so seek treatment immediately.
8. Necrotizing Fascitis: Also known as “flesh-eating bactieria,” this infection is rare but severe. The bacteria enters the body through a cut, and the bacteria begins to destroy skin and muscles. It can be life threatening. Visit the emergency room if you are experiencing symptoms.
9. Paronychia: This is an infection of the area around the fingernail. The skin around the nail will be red, swollen and tender. It can occur if your hands are frequently wet.
10. Septic Arthritis/Osteomyelitis: A wound near a joint can cause this infection. Urgent treatment will be necessary.
11. Tendon Sheath Infection: This type of infection occurs from a cut or wound in a finger. You may feel stiffness or even feel the tendon pop. The finger will be red, swollen and tender on the palm side.
Learn more about hand infections.