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Treatment for dirt under cuts in fingers.

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Quite some time ago I cut 2 of my fingers when I hit them on the exhaust pipe of a automobile. This when cleaning the vehicle and I think there is dirt from the exhaust pipe under the skin where it was broken and healed. The one spot is near the tip of my little finger near the nail. The other spot is on the ring finger at the joint near the nail. I am wondering if this can be ignored or if it is possible to have the dirt cleaned out? I guess the areas would have to be opened up again. There is no swelling or soreness so maybe it is not dirt but that I am not sure of. The areas that look there is dirt are like a bluish black color that is why I think it might be carbon from the exhaust pipe.

Category: Family Physician-GP

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Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
 22 Doctors Online

Thank you for your query at

I understand your concern.
If there was dirt under your skin, it would have caused inflammation within 24 hours of entry. A swelling would have developed. As dirt in not sterile, pus would have formed there and your fingers would have shown signs of infection.
If all this did not happen, then it is unlikely that what you see is dirt.
The dark colored spots may just be hyperpigmented spots which can develop when a wound heals.
It would be best if you can upload clear pictures of your fingers showing those spots.
I can go through them and can provide a definitive opinion.

I hope this was helpful for now.

Patient replied :

Here is a picture of the fingers it might be hard for you really get an idea of what is actually there. But the little finger shows up fairly good. The ring finger the cut was on that edge of the joint near the fingernail. Let me know if these pictures are clear enough.

The picture isn't clear but will do. It does look like a hyperpigmented spot on your little finger and the crease of your ring finger also seems to be hyperpigmented.
You could apply 1% Hydrocortisone cream just over the affected areas, 2-3 times daily, for a week.
In case the spots persist after 1 week, you can consult a Dermatologist.

Patient replied :

Well just to clarify the cuts that happened were from over 10 years old patientago so I am thinking you think they were more recent. I had similar thing with the fingers on the other handwhich happened from getting caught in a fan belt and pulley on a lawn tractor. Funny thing is that was over 30 years old patientago and I recently noticed those marks on the skin are no longer there. I managed to get another picture with my digital camera that are better I will upload them so you can see again. Maybe that is typical of a cut to the fingers in that area that results from impact with a dull edge. I think I probably should have cleaned it better with peroxide but did not and I guess forgot to later.


Thank you for the additional information and the picture.

This picture is definitely clearer.
If its been over 10 years, it is all the more unlikely for it to be dirt.
If the injury was from impact with a dull edge and if there was no broken skin, dirt cannot make its way in.
And as I mentioned previously, it is not likely to be dirt under the skin.
Since it is quite a small lesion, there is no harm through that and the only problem is cosmetic.
So if you wish to get rid of it, you can apply Hydrocortisone cream as advised earlier or see a Dermatologist.


Patient replied :

My goodness did I make you think there was no broken skin? Sorry but there was and by a dull edge I meant something other than a knife edge. The end of a tail pipe can have edge that will cut you if you hit against it. So I guess it will have to stay the way it is and my opinion is maybe it is a bruise mark under the surface of the skin.

Thank you for additional information.
It is definitely not dirt and i will request you to contact a dermatologist for further management of the issue. Till then you can continue with local hydrocortisone ointment.

Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy
Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
MBBS from Sri Ramachandra University in December 2011
M.Med (Family Medicine) - TNMGR University, Chennai
MBA-MPH in Public Health in March 2016, SRM University
Finished AFIH in March 2016, SRM University
MRCP ( UK ), Internal Medicine, Royal College of Physicians, June 2016
Fellowship in Diabetology from Martin Luther University in January 2017

Currently Resident Physician, in MD Radiodiagnosis - Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai
Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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