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HomeAnswersOrthopedician and TraumatologynecrosisI recently sustained an injury to my right pinky finger and covered the scraped skin with a clean dressing. How can I check for infection or necrosis?

Can signs such as blackened skin, discharge, or a foul smell indicate skin necrosis or infection?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Answered by

Dr. Atul Prakash

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At January 2, 2024
Reviewed AtJanuary 2, 2024

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I recently sustained an injury to my right pinky finger. It was a laceration that exposed a 1/8 inch by 1/4 inch section of bone, but there was a thin layer of skin that was scraped off and still attached. After cleaning the wound and applying triple antibiotic ointment, I folded the skin back over the wound and covered it with clean dressings. Additionally, I have been taking tablet Amoxicillin 500mg twice a day, which I had left over from a previous injury. I have not visited the ER. How can I determine if the wound is becoming infected or if necrosis is setting in?

Thank you.

Answered by Dr. Atul Prakash


Welcome to icliniq.com.

I will not dwell on the reasons for not seeking emergent care, but now that you have treated yourself, you should open the dressing (wash your hands first), and carefully inspect the skin flap that you repositioned. Check for any signs of blackening skin on the flap. Additionally, examine the dressing for any discharge and note its color, a greenish color may indicate infection, and if you detect a foul smell, that is also concerning.

Gently cleanse the wound with an antiseptic solution, then reapply a new dressing. Ensure that you keep the wound dry and monitor for any signs of infection, such as throbbing pain, swelling, or redness extending beyond the base of the finger. Be vigilant for systemic symptoms like fever, headache, loss of appetite, and so on. Continue taking the antibiotics until the wound is fully dry.

I hope this helps. Thank you.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Atul Prakash
Dr. Atul Prakash

Orthopedician and Traumatology

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