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SINGLE finger protection – need ideas

This topic contains 15 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Miamicuse 1 day, 23 hours ago.

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  • #733745

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Hi folks, this is really not a regular “work gear” discussion but one that pertains to my particular situation.

    I had an accident about a month ago where my left index finger was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got pinched badly between two hard objects. This resulted in a trip to the ER, received 4 stitches in my finger, a bloody mess with a bone fracture on the first segment of that finger, I wasn’t able to do much as the wound closes. It will take a LONG time for the bone fracture to heal and the nail to grow back. But at this point I am one month from the accident, the open wound has closed up, I can start to expose my finger to water, and begining try to bend it a little.

    While it’s inconvenient and slow, I can begin to resume to do some light duty work, but the doc cautioned against getting it wet or dirty…ie, don’t work with soil, concrete, pipes or do anything excessively dusty.

    I need some way to protect my healing finger while I do stuff.

    I tried the following.

    GLOVES:
    I cannot wear any gloves because when I tried to pull on gloves the the wrapped and taped finger is too big. If I try to pull on it the finger hurts. I could cut one finger of the gloves off, but then it’s not protecting the one finger that needs protecting. I think my best bet is to not wear gloves at all, but find a way to protect that single finger.

    NITRILE GLOVES
    So next thing I tried was to buy some XL nitrile gloves. Then I cut just the thumb off and fitted that over my injured finger. Then put a tape around the base of my finger to secure it. That worked reasonably well and I was able to work in short spurts. However, the finger sweats and the wrapped gauge gets soaked so if I wear it for longer than 30 minutes it’s no good.

    COTTON FINGER COTS
    Ordered that from Amazon and while it seems like it may allow my finger to breath, it is a compression fit over the entire finger, so if my finger is wrapped it won’t fit. It will be useful I think when my finger is healed better down the road when I no longer need a splint or gauge wrapping.

    A few days ago I tried doing a small project of roughing in a new electrical receptacle which is easy but the hard part was to cut open a small rectangular hole on a plastered lath wall which involved used of a grinder. I know dust will be an issue so I had a shop vac next to the grinder and I wrapped my entire left hand in a supermarket plastic bag while the cutting was happening.

    So right now the only somewhat workable solution is to take a XL nitrile glove and cut the thumb off and fit that thumb piece over my index finger, then tape around the base, and that will allow me to work some for like 30 minutes.

    Any ideas on a better way would be greatly appreciated.

    #733748

    Seven-Delta-FortyOne
    Pro
    The Emerald Triangle, Northern California

    Whenever I’ve had finger injuries, I use one of those metal finger splints, with the foam inside.

    Then I wrap it in a 4×4 gauze, and use either extra large cloth band-aids, or waterproof first aid tape.

    Then I slip a rubber finger cot over that.

    One thing that really helps is, I buy medical supplies from the companies that supply ambulance companies and clinics, so quality is a little better.

    Goin' Down In Flames........

    #733757

    smallerstick
    Pro
    North Bay, ON

    Woodcarvers use protective gear for a different reason but maybe you could benefit from a leather finger protector.

    https://www.chippingaway.com/cat/woodcarving-supplies/safety/safety-gloves-thumb-and-finger/

    #733758

    Sorpa
    Pro
    Pierrefonds, Qc

    Get an over sized thimble.

    #733774

    DirtyWhiteBoy
    Pro
    Honolulu,, Hi.

    I’d just use some gauze or padding and tape.

    Dirty

    A Working Pro since 1988!

    Member since January 26, 2013.

    #733862

    CB
    Pro

    It sounds like you need a combination of sterile wound and skin care protection, along with stabilization (splint), along with bump protection for the sensitive nail area (hard cover… or what Sorpa described as a thimble), along with air circulation and breathe-ability to achieve a balance of dryness that enables adequate healing, which never happens if the wound is trapped in a sauna of sweat.

    All “wrapped” up simultaneously.

    Well, allow me to “point” you toward a direction that worked for me, when I injured one of my fingers (7 stitches) earlier this year (chainsaw massacre… or uh, mishap).

    First, dispense with the aluminum/foam splint. While flexibly formable, it is yet formidable to adapt other finger protection means around. Pitch it, or save it for future injury. It’s usefulness for this injury is done.

    Next, apply your normal course of daily dressing… betadine antiseptic cleaning, triple antibiotic ointment, and sterile antibacterial bandage for the first layer.

    Then buy a tubular finger bandage kit like this:

    Keep the plastic applicator, throw the tubular bandage away (or save it for another type of injury, like say if your eyelash gets broken… that’s about how useless the tubular gauze is in fulfilling its design intent.)

    But the hard plastic applicator, that is the enabling prize worth the price of the entire package. The plastic applicator now becomes your splint. It is Sorpa’s thimble. It has a closed end for protecting the tip of your finger where your sensitive nail needs a little bump protection, and yet it has large open sides that not only permit the thimble to expand in girth to accommodate the first layer sterile bandage, but also permit the entire assembly of bandage layers to BREATHE. (Provided the initial sterile layer is a breathable bandage.)

    Now, to secure the plastic applicator in place, and to keep the sterile bandage from getting dirty through the open sides of the plastic applicator, wrap some self adhering gauze bandaging around the applicator. I used leg wrap for horses, because it was wider (4″) and the outer layer didn’t need to be sterile, and sometimes, animal supplies are less expensive than medical supplies marketed to humans, even when it is the same product made by the same company in the same machine.

    And that’s it. The outer layer adheres to itself quite well. The more wraps the more protection, the fewer wraps, the less you will feel like one finger belongs to the Michelin Man. Being self adhering, you can be assured that dirt will stick to it too. Which is fine, as the benefit of breath-ability is worth replacing the outer wrap every few days.

    The inner bandage should be cleaned and replaced every day for proper wound care and healing progression monitoring. But the outer bandage, that secures the protective applicator “thimble” splint in place, can be changed out incrementally.

    What I did was wrap really heavy on the first day, then when it was time to redo the inner bandage, as I unwrapped the outer bandage, I would cut off the dirty outermost layer from the outer wrap, and rewrap with what remained after I redid the inner wrap and cover splint. Thus, the next day would have one or two less wraps from that outer wrap, until the wrap had been cut down enough to not have enough wraps anymore. Then I’d start with a new length of outer wrap.

    This worked out really well. No more unwrapping the finger to find jelloed flesh inside from too much moisture retention by the bandage. No more clanging the end of the metal splint on things, because either the square corners of the fold over the flexible metal splint extends the length and width of the injured finger unnaturally. The smooth radiused, conical end of the hard plastic applicator is a much more naturally contoured end that slips past obstacles, rather than catching them. The closed cone end more emulates the tip of a finger with trimmed nails. Nothing to catch.

    Best of luck in your finger’s recovery.

    #735165

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    @cb, thank you for the detailed explanation and suggestion.

    Yes, that is exactly what I need. I have been using just gauze, the U shaped splint, and tape. That works while I am sleeping and resting or doing nothing. But when I am active – yesterday I tried to relocate a palm tree, and was using a shovel mostly one handed, and it was pretty hard not to get your hand dirty and sweaty.

    I did not realize the plastic tubular applicator existed.

    I do get this injured finger bumped a lot now that it’s sticking out a lot with the splint and I have a hard time bending it. Even driving when I make a tight turn requiring me to rotate the sterring wheel more than typical the extended finger would bump into something.

    I guess it’s better having the left index finger injured then the right one. What a bloody mess, never seen blood shooting out of a finger before LOL.

    Again, thank you very much for the great idea.

    #735273

    Doobie
    Moderator

    Maybe this stuff from LV for wrapping it would help.

    https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/tools/apparel-and-safety-gear/31213-high-friction-guard-tape

    Looks to be breathable and is probably available at other places than LV as well.

    #735317

    DirtyWhiteBoy
    Pro
    Honolulu,, Hi.

    Paper towel and duct tape.

    Dirty

    A Working Pro since 1988!

    Member since January 26, 2013.

    #735413

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Maybe this stuff from LV for wrapping it would help.

    https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/tools/apparel-and-safety-gear/31213-high-friction-guard-tape

    Looks to be breathable and is probably available at other places than LV as well.

    I do use a variation of a mesh tape like this on the outside of the gauze. This tape is breathable which is good, but then it lets dust in when I am cutting or grinding or sanding etc…that’s why I was trying to come up with something that won’t be so “wrapped up” that will cause my own sweat from soaking the injured finger from the inside, but anything that can breath will let dust or water in. No perfect world but the contraption that CB suggested is probably the best. Hard to work with one finger out of commission LOL.

    Paper towel and duct tape.

    I did actually tried duct tape. It’s a bitch to take off!

    #735421

    Well I am sure your whole ordeal has been a bitch. I hope it heals up quick for you and your are back to normal use soon.

    #735447

    DirtyWhiteBoy
    Pro
    Honolulu,, Hi.

    I did actually tried duct tape. It’s a bitch to take off!

    Then the Blue tape will come off much easier. Fold over the end so that there is a pull tab.

    Dirty

    A Working Pro since 1988!

    Member since January 26, 2013.

    #735494

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    I did actually tried duct tape. It’s a bitch to take off!

    Then the Blue tape will come off much easier. Fold over the end so that there is a pull tab.

    Lol, it’s not the “work” involved in taking them off, it’s the pain when the tape is being pulled off. Imagine using duct tape on a soft sweet potato and trying to remove the tape without straining or crushing the potato lol. It has to be cut off.

    #735549

    DirtyWhiteBoy
    Pro
    Honolulu,, Hi.

    Man I have done this a lot and it’s not a big deal. Just cover it on gauze and then wrap it in tape and only have the top edge touch the skin so it will come right off easy.

    Dirty

    A Working Pro since 1988!

    Member since January 26, 2013.

    #735679

    CB
    Pro

    Revisiting this thread based on the comments read, the severity of the injury emerges as critical to distinguish when comparing bandage options that simultaneously promote healing as well as permit working.

    Nicking a finger so deep that it bleeds profusely non stop, while bad, is still not quite as serious as severing a finger so deep that you see the white of the bones and tendons, while trying to fold a hunk of flesh back into place and hope that body doesn’t reject it.

    That level of injury is stitches time. And the OP mentioned stitches. Four sutures if I recall correctly. A paper towel and painter’s tape is not adequate support for the sutures to do the job that one paid $600 to $6,000 for a physician’s assistant in Urgent Care or the ER doc in the Emergency Room to sew up.

    Based on the aluminum/foam splint, and the report of stitches, the OP’s injury clearly involved a trip to a medical specialist of some kind, and that trip likely wasn’t free or cheap. It would be best not to undo the stitching work already paid for by wearing the numbers off the man card prematurely.

    Tapes don’t breath. Not even porous medical tapes breathe as well as the self adhering gauze wraps. I would use a minimum amount of tape, and a liberal amount of self adhering gauze wrap, after the sterile wrap and whatever healing agents (anti bacterial, anti microbial, anti biotic) were applied to the wound.

    The plastic applicator splint is to keep the finger still. Not needed if not working… but if working, then it is natural for that finger to want to move, and if moving the finger will disturb the stitches before the flesh has a chance to grow back into itself, then that could create permanent scar barriers that block nerve and blood vessel integration at the seam of separation.

    Occasional skin lacerations come with the territory, but for serious finger injuries that can last a lifetime, it pays to treat them seriously so as to restore as much feeling and function to the finger as possible.

    #735710

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    That level of injury is stitches time. And the OP mentioned stitches. Four sutures if I recall correctly. A paper towel and painter’s tape is not adequate support for the sutures to do the job that one paid $600 to $6,000 for a physician’s assistant in Urgent Care or the ER doc in the Emergency Room to sew up.

    Yes I had 4 stitches. Three smaller ones and one big one. The smaller ones were done around the edges of the finger tip by a physician’s intern. The big one the ER doctor had to do himself, that went through the nail all the way to the other side of the finger, that one was painful even though they numbed me, it was so painful as he punched it through there were some muscles on my face that twitches, muscles I didn’t know I have LOL.

    I have a friend who had a real bad finger accident. A snow blower that suddenly stopped working and he turned it off and stuck his fingers in there to “unstuck” something and once he freed whatever was there three of his fingers were severed. I think he was in shock because after he retrieved his fingers he took time to rolled the snowblower back into his shed, locked up his home, then drove to the ER, used his left hand to fill out all the dozens of pages of info the ER reception gave him, then fainted.

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