Am Fam Physician 2019 Feb;99(4):228-236
U.S. Marine Corps School of Infantry-East, Camp Geiger, NC, USA.
Acute hand infections are often caused by puncture wounds and are generally classified into superficial or deep infections. Superficial infections occur in the skin and subcutaneous tissues, whereas deep infections can involve the tendon sheaths, adjacent anatomic compartments, deep fascial planes, bursae, joint spaces, and bones. Superficial hand infections are more common than deep infections and are typically managed with elevation, warm soaks, splinting in the position of function, analgesics, and empiric antibiotics when indicated. Paronychia, which can be acute or chronic, is an infection or inflammation of the nail fold. Treatment involves warm soaks, topical antibiotics, and abscess drainage, if indicated. A felon is an infection of the distal pulp of the finger. Treatment often involves surgical drainage and empiric oral antibiotics. Herpetic whitlow is caused by herpes simplex virus and typically resolves without intervention. Deep hand infections include pyogenic flexor tenosynovitis and clenched-fist bite wounds. Pyogenic flexor tenosynovitis is a rapidly progressing bacterial infection of the flexor tendon sheaths in the hand, most commonly caused by a penetrating injury to the finger. Clenched-fist bite wounds result from direct contact of the fist on incisor teeth and are associated with polymicrobial infections. Empiric antibiotics and prompt surgical consultation are indicated to reduce long-term morbidity.
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