How to Restore Feeling in a Numb Finger After Stitches

Updated on January 30, 2020
petulantM profile image

My finger began to turn numb shortly after I cut it, and this is my journey to restore sensation to the area.

Restoring Feeling to a Numb Finger Takes Time

If you cut your finger deep enough to require stitches, you likely also lost sensation in that area (typically above the cut). While everyone's recovery differs, you may regain sensation in parts or all of the area after a period of time. There are also certain exercises that can help restore feeling in a numb finger. Unfortunately, for some people, depending on the type of cut and treatment, they may never regain full sensation in the entire area.

Here's a photo of my finger immediately after the Urgent Care physician finished stitching it.
Here's a photo of my finger immediately after the Urgent Care physician finished stitching it. | Source

How I Cut My Finger

I was slicing a loaf of french bread while talking. Instead of holding it on the cutting board, I carelessly held it in my hand, and sure enough, the bread knife went through my finger along with the bread.

I paused for a second and then screamed. I looked down and thought I saw bone and nearly passed out. Thankfully, I was not home alone and my husband ran over and immediately held my finger under the faucet to try to stop the bleeding.

He isn't bothered by blood and examined the cut. He placed a paper towel over it and told me to hold it firmly; he then ran upstairs for gauze, bandages, and tape. He wrapped and taped my finger as tightly as he could, and I thought that was it.

But soon after, I started to lose sensation in my finger. It first felt tingly, like when your arm or foot falls asleep and sensation begins to return. Then it started to feel numb.

I researched deep finger cuts on the internet and started to self-diagnose myself (I do not recommend this: go to a professional). In one of the articles I found, it said that if you cut through a tendon or certain nerves and have to have surgery, and it should be done within six hours of the cut.

That was enough for me: I asked my husband to drive me to Urgent Care. It was closing in 15 minutes (this happened on a Saturday night) and wasn't open on Sunday, and I wasn't going to lose the six hour window, in case I had cut through a nerve or tendon and needed surgery.

At Urgent Care

We arrived a few minutes before closing, and the receptionist did not seem to have the sense of "urgency" one would expect from an "Urgent" Care facility. After taking my insurance information and credit card, she told me to wait. Did she not realize I might only have six hours?!

I was shown to a room, had my vitals taken, confirmed that I had a recent tetanus shot, and someone came to examine my wound. He carefully unwrapped my bandages, studied the cut, and placed my finger in a bowl of disinfectant. And then he left the room and I waited some more.

Finally the physician came in and removed my finger from the bath. She had me move my finger in a few different directions and bend it. Thankfully, I did not sever the tendon and did not need surgery. It had not stopped bleeding, and she explained that had I not come in tonight, I would have realized that I needed to come in the next morning, as I would still have been bleeding. Because the cut was deep and along the joint, I required stitches. Seven of them.

How to Take Care of Stitches

Before she stitched my finger, she again confirmed that I had had a tetanus shot in the last 5-10 years, then gave the cut a few shots to numb the pain. By that point, I had lost sensation in that area and could not feel the shots or the stitches.

During the First 48 Hours

After she finished stitching the cut, she applied an antibacterial ointment, a gauze pad, and then wrapped my finger firmly in gauze and taped the end. She told me to keep my finger elevated above my heart (to reduce swelling), and asked me to refrain from washing it for 48 hours. If I wanted to take a shower before then, I could place my hand in a plastic bag to keep it dry.

After 48 Hours

After the first 48 hours, she said I should remove the dressing, wash the stitches and wound gently, lightly pat dry, apply Neosporin, place a clean gauze pad (she gave me several large Curad pads, which I cut to fit the wound), and then wrap gently (and not too firmly) with a gauze roll. I couldn't find the exact gauze roll that the doctor used, so I purchased a Johnson & Johnson one that gripped itself. I didn't use very much of it, as it was thicker and stiffer—it actually kept me from accidentally bending my finger and ripping the stitches out—than the gauze roll the doctor used. I only wrapped my finger twice around before cutting and taping the roll.

Continue for 10 Days

She said I should do this every 24 hours for the next 10 days, at which point I should return to have the stitches removed. I dutifully did all of the above, as I wanted to heal properly. There were a few moments where I thought I might have pulled some of the stitches, where I moved my hand or fingers in a way that caused strain. When I unrolled the gauze and peeked under the bandage, thankfully the stitches were in place, and there was no blood.

After 10 days, I returned to Urgent Care, and the same physician said that the wound had healed enough that she could remove the stitches. Unfortunately, she did not give me any shots before removing the stitches, and the wound had begun to heal, so I could feel the stitches being removed. It was not terribly painful, just a bit of uncomfortable. I was thrilled that I was able to have feeling and sensation in that part of my finger.

This is a photo of my finger shortly after the stitches were removed.
This is a photo of my finger shortly after the stitches were removed. | Source

Caring for Wound After Stitches Removed

Once the stitches were removed, the doctor explained that I should continue to apply Neosporin while the external wound healed, as well as sunscreen, so that the scar would be less visible. I also began to apply Mederma, a scar reducing gel, according to the instructions (several times a day) and then covered the area with a bandage.

The doctor indicated that I didn't have to wear a band-aid and that I should let the wound be exposed while it healed. I continued to use a band-aid at night though, so that I wouldn't rub off the Neosporin and Mederma while I slept.

Start with your finger pointed up, then slowly bend the tip towards your knuckle. My doctor told me to do 10 repetitions daily.
Start with your finger pointed up, then slowly bend the tip towards your knuckle. My doctor told me to do 10 repetitions daily. | Source

Restoring Feeling in Finger After Stitches Removed

The doctor explained that my finger would likely feel numb for months, and that I may not fully regain sensation in the entire finger. She told me to hold my finger straight up and then slowly bend the tip towards my knuckles, and to do 10 repetitions a day.

It has been over four months since my stitches were removed, and I continue to do those finger exercises each day, though I do more than 10 repetitions and bend the finger more quickly now.

When the stitches were first removed, my finger began to swell, so I tried to keep it elevated and above my heart. It would start to throb and tingle, and holding it firmly with my other hand helped. Unfortunately, I think I held it too firmly once, as I felt a rush of warmth running up the length of the finger. In hindsight, I think I loosened the internal blood clot and created scar tissue internally, as that is the area that remains numb today.

Sensation in my finger has been improving in very small increments. When I think back to how numb my finger felt right after the stitches were removed and compare it to now, over four months later, the difference is significant. On a daily basis, the changes were so small that I couldn't always confirm progress. But there would be milestone days with a noticeable difference: the tip of my finger all of a sudden felt normal, whereas the night before it had felt slightly numb. I would notice these types of changes after a good night's sleep and when I was drinking lots of water, eating healthy, and taking vitamins (multi-vitamin, Calcium, Vitamin D, and Stress-B Vitamin Complex).

Scar Tissue Massage to Restore Feeling in Numb Finger

Finger Massage Exercise to Restore Sensation

I read that nerves grow about 1 mm per day, so it can take a long time for the nerve endings to reconnect to restore sensation and feeling to a numb finger, depending on the size of the area. In my experience, that 1 mm is in all directions, so my numb patch keeps getting smaller and smaller and less deep.

The doctor also told me that there would be a hard ridge of scar tissue that forms along the cut. That area is raised, and I wanted to soften the scar tissue.

I came across a YouTube video explaining how to massage scar tissue, and I do these massage exercises several times a day. Not only do the massage exercises help soften the scar tissue, but also they are helping to restore feeling in the numb areas of my finger.

I found this at Ross For Less. I complete the self-massage exercises from the video several times a day and then roll the scar and numb area with this tool before going to bed.
I found this at Ross For Less. I complete the self-massage exercises from the video several times a day and then roll the scar and numb area with this tool before going to bed. | Source

Massaging the Wound Also Helped Restore Feeling

The scar massage techniques from the video began to work almost immediately. I was doing the circular massage technique, the roll, pulling and stretching the scar area to loosen the tendons and scar tissue, and pinching the scar area together. I believe all of these techniques were helping to restore feeling, as I was doing them not only on the scar but also the entire numb area.

One day, however, the numb area on my finger felt like it was getting harder and almost callous. The skin in the numb area feels different, and when I was trying to tear a piece of tape from a roll, the tape stuck to that part of the finger. I decided to try massaging the area with something other than my fingers/hands and found a leg massager. I rolled the plastic wheels over the area, and as I rolled a bit harder, the area began to tingle a bit and swell. Perhaps I had improved circulation to that part of my finger.

I added the massager tool to my daily scar massage routine, and the skin on the numb area feels softer after I finish. I typically do this towards the end of the day or right before bed.

How I Successfully Restored Feeling in My Finger

Lots of rest, water, healthy food, vitamins, and finger exercises/massages on a daily basis. I am hoping that within a year, sensation will be fully restored in all areas of my finger.

After four months of applying Neosporin and Mederma several times a day, and sunscreen before going outside, my external would has healed very nicely, and the scar is nearly invisible.
After four months of applying Neosporin and Mederma several times a day, and sunscreen before going outside, my external would has healed very nicely, and the scar is nearly invisible. | Source

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Delia Egan Schaffner

    How Have You Restored Feeling to a Numb Finger?

    Submit a Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)