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Swelling and redness appeared on thumb after a cut. Infection?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1995
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I believe I may have cut my thump yesterday (today can't find any cut) but today it is swollen and red and it looks like the red goes down my forearm
Posted Fri, 19 Apr 2013 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Pragnesh Vachharajani 25 minutes later

Thanks for posting your query.

I think you should seek medical attention.

Swelling, redness is suggestive of some infection. The reason could be:

Injury:as you are already suspecting
Local skin problems etc.

As the redness is extending in to forearm you should not ignore it.

You might need a course of antibiotics and analgesics after examination by doctor.

Take local analgesic that you have with you, apply some local analgesic cream also.

Do not keep the hand hanging and keep hand elevated on pillow while you sleep.

I hope this helps.

Wishing you good health.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Swelling and redness appeared on thumb after a cut. Infection? 25 minutes later
Are there any OTC Meds that can be taken before going to the Dr?
Answered by Dr. Pragnesh Vachharajani 5 hours later

Good to hear from you again.

Yes,you can take analgesics like Tylenol which can help in reducing pain and swelling.

Local application of analgesic ointment will also help.

Antibiotics can only be taken after consulting doctor.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Swelling and redness appeared on thumb after a cut. Infection? 13 hours later
After applying topical bacitracin ointment and taking anti-inflammatory oral meds, it doesn't look "worse" and the redness down my arm doesn't appear to be present any longer but my thumb is still swollen and red (just as far as the base I the thumb). Does that sound like its being healed by my body or do I STILL need to go in? I have no insurance so a visit to a health professional would be VERY costly so anything I can do with OTC medications would be preferred.
Answered by Dr. Pragnesh Vachharajani 17 minutes later

Welcome once again.

The response seems to be encouraging.Decreasing redness is a good sign.Normally the body takes care of minor injury by itself in about 3-4 days and healing process takes place on its own.

On case of severe injury or infection you need to medical help.

What you can do is,continue taking medicines and applying local antibiotics for at least couple of days.

visit to doctor will be required if:

You have fever
Pain and swelling is increasing
Increasing redness

Please do things which are already mentioned earlier.

In any of case problem mentioned above please consult a doctor.

I hope this clarifies your concern.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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