Fingertip Injury: Will the Tip of the Finger Grow Back?

The human body has an amazing capacity to heal, even after major injuries like cutting off the tip of your finger. Hand surgeons have long known that a cut-off fingertip can regain much of its normal feel, shape, and appearance.

Wounds to the fingers typically heal well because fingers have an excellent blood supply. Usually, with clean amputations of the fingertip (or even the digit itself), surgery is not needed.

In general, for a fingertip injury to grow back fully, the injury must occur beyond where the fingernail starts. This article shows the stages of healing for a fingertip amputation.

Day of Injury

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

Tip of finger cut off
Photo © David Nelson, M.D.

This young woman accidentally cut off the tip of her finger with a pair of scissors. She visited a hand surgeon to be evaluated.

No surgical procedures or special equipment were used. The wound was cleaned well and covered with a waterproof dressing.

10 Days After Injury

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

Tip of finger cut off after 10 days
Photo © David Nelson, M.D.

Early signs of healing can be seen 10 days later when she revisited her healthcare provider for a dressing change.

One Month After Injury

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

Tip of finger cut off after one month
Photo © David Nelson, M.D.

About one month after the injury, the wound is now dry. More soft tissue is now covering the tip of the finger, which is beginning to take on a more normal appearance.

7 Weeks After Injury

Tip of finger cut off after seven weeks
Photo © David Nelson, M.D.

This image, taken only seven weeks after the injury occurred, shows a finger that looks nearly normal. The fingernail has resumed a more normal appearance and most people would not notice that the fingertip had been injured.

Tips to Promote Healing

Your healthcare provider will provide you with instructions to help keep your injury stay clean and heal well. Follow them to the letter to prevent infection and promote the growth of healthy new tissue.

For example, cleaning the wound with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide is not advised as it can slow healing.

It is important to ask how often your bandage should be changed at home and which topical products (such as antibiotic ointment) you should use.

Monitor your injury for signs of infection, like redness, swelling, or drainage, and be sure to attend your follow-up appointments so your provider can monitor your progress.

Summary

Though they may be scary, many fingertip injuries (including clean amputations of the tip itself) can be treated without a need for surgery. It's important to keep your wound clean and covered, and to talk to your doctor if you have concerns about infection. In most cases, the injury may not even be visible once the wound heals.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does skin grow back?

    Skin grows back thanks to the body's natural ability to heal wounds. This process requires the help of many different types of cells. Put simply, healing skin starts by clotting the wound so that it remains closed. Then, blood cells deliver oxygen and nutrients to the wound site so that new tissue can be built. The length of repair depends on a wound's severity, but some can take years to fully heal.

  • How long do fingernails take to grow back?

    Fingernails take six months to grow from the germinal matrix (nail root) to the end of the nail. Fingernails have a growth rate of about three millimeters (0.1 inches) per month, but age and poor circulation can cause slower growth.

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3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Takeo M, Chou WC, Sun Q, et al. Wnt activation in nail epithelium couples nail growth to digit regenerationNature. 2013;499(7457):228-232. doi:10.1038/nature12214

  2. University of Rochester Medical Center. How Wounds Heal.

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