How to reattach a finger

Amputated tips of fingers and toes are very common injuries and with the right initial first aid treatment, they can very often be successfully re-attached.

Amputated Finger: What to Do

If part of a finger is amputated, the priority is to look after the child. Sit them down, reassure them and grab a cloth to apply direct pressure to the stump, elevate the injured hand above the level of the heart. Do not worry about the amputated part until bleeding has been controlled and the child is calmer.

Pick up the finger. Do not wash it. Wrap it in a cloth, put this in a plastic bag and that on an ice pack. Do not let the ice come directly into contact with the amputated part as it will cause ice burns and mean the finger can’t be to be sewn back on. You are chilling, not freezing the amputated part (to prevent it decomposing). Transport the child and amputated finger to hospital, if necessary by ambulance.

If the finger is still partly attached with a blood supply, bandage the severed part carefully in situ, not too tightly, support and elevate the hand and call an ambulance.

Crushed or Bruised Fingers

If fingers are crushed and bruised, but there is no amputation, run the damaged area under cool running water for 10 minutes, then apply a wrapped ice pack, elevate the injured hand and seek medical advice.


First Aid for Life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made or actions taken based on this information. The best way to be prepared for action in an emergency is to attend a practical first aid course or do one online.

Emma Hammett: Emma Hammett is an experienced nurse and first aid trainer, she has worked in many areas including A&E, Children’s Ward, Burns Unit and Acute medical and surgical wards before becoming hospital manager of Hammersmith and Charing Cross Hospitals. In 2007, she founded First Aid for Life and is shortly going to publish her second book, Burns, Falls and Emergency Calls – The ultimate guide to the prevention and treatment of childhood accidents. Emma is also the founder of First Aid for Pets offering first aid training courses for your pets https://firstaidforpets.net/

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