|A felon is a severe infection of the pulpy tip of a finger, usually caused by infection with Staphylococcus bacteria occurring as an abscess of the distal pulp.
Fingertip pulp is divided into numerous small compartments by vertical septa that stabilize the pad. Infection occurring within these compartments can lead to abscess formation, edema, and rapid development of increased pressure in a closed space. This increased pressure may compromise blood flow and lead to necrosis of the skin and pulp.
|A felon usually is caused by inoculation of bacteria into the fingertip through a penetrating trauma. The most commonly affected digits are the thumb and index finger.
Common predisposing causes include
Bits of glass,
A felon also may arise when an untreated paronychia spreads into the pad of the fingertip.
Felons have been reported following multiple finger-stick blood tests.
Patients present with rapid onset of severe, throbbing pain, with associated redness and swelling of the fingertip. The pain caused by a felon is usually more intense than that caused by paronychia. The swelling will not extend proximal to the distal interphalangeal joint. Occasionally, the high pressure in the fingertip pad will cause a felon to spontaneously drain, resulting in a visible sinus. Diagnosis
Bone and soft tissue radiographs should be obtained to evaluate for a foreign body
Consult a hand surgeon for more complex cases.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.