Cellulitis on Finger, Elbow, Wrist, Arm and Under Arm: Symptoms, Treatment

The hands, a massive treasure trove of bugs and germs. Naturally, our hands come into contact with multiple different surfaces and substances throughout the course of any 24-hour period. However, hopefully, we understand the perils of bacteria and keep our hands perhaps cleaner than other parts of our body. Global Handwashing Day, established in 2008, is a public health initiative designed to educate everyone about good hygiene habits. Our hands can convey so much disease to other people. With the concentration of nerve endings in the fingers, we are likely to feel an infection much more quickly than elsewhere.

Is this cellulitis on your finger?

The most common infection of the finger is noted as Paronychia. This is an infection of the root of the fingernail, the nail bed. Either bacterial or fungal, if the former then it can develop into a case of cellulitis on your finger. It may be either chronic or acute in presentation and is caused by germs entering roughened or irritated skin which can have multiple causes including anything from excessive exposure to chemicals or detergents through to nail-biting or compulsive chewing.

Having your hands in water for long periods softens the skin unduly allowing bacteria or fungus to flourish and is another causative factor. Don’t underestimate the significance of wearing rings which trap moisture underneath the band, the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Most cellulitis on the finger remains reasonably superficial within the skin layers and will travel across the hand rather than into the deeper structures.

Watch out, that could be cellulitis on your wrist

A timepiece or watch, funnily enough, is a consummate way to confine sweat and dirt beneath metal or plastic neither of which are breathable. An infected hair follicle can easily ensue, quickly progressing into cellulitis on your wrist. Removing your watch occasionally during the day can allow the air to reach the skin and relieve pressure caused by the buckle or strap. Other triggers for cellulitis infection are scratches from either work or leisure activities such as gardening or a sting or bite which becomes infected. The skin on the underside of your wrist is very soft and easy to penetrate. Obviously, habitual drug users are particularly prone to superficial bacterial infections such as cellulitis.

Give cellulitis the big elbow!

The elbow is a joint which commonly suffers from abrasions with a thin covering of skin making it relatively easy for bacteria to travel to the deep levels creating a cellulitis infection in the elbow. It is important to accurately assess whether there has been a puncture wound or injury penetrating the joint which can go undetected in swollen, pink skin, particularly if it is minuscule. This can transition into a grave and very painful infection in the joint known as bacterial joint inflammation or septic arthritis. You don’t have to be suffering from arthritis as an age condition to be affected by this. The joint can become significantly damaged by the bacteria resulting in the destruction of bone and cartilage in addition to the potential complications caused by the spread of the cellulitis. Diagnosis is based on the clinical symptoms and medical history, i.e. defined accident or injury. Full strength possibly intravenous antibiotic infusion is required and the joint may physically be flushed in a sterile environment to help speed the departure of the bacteria and limit the damage. X-Ray and fluid sampling can monitor the effectiveness of treatment. Those people who already suffer from disorders which weaken their skin structure so Psoriasis or Eczema may be more prone to cellulitis infections which should be carefully monitored.

Cellulitis under your arm

Did you know the armpit is the warmest area of your body? Also known as, ‘the axilla’, this area is an empty hollow holding blood and lymph vessels, numerous lymph nodes, at least twenty, and a huge concentration of sweat glands and hair follicles so plenty of opportunities for bacteria predation.

Multiple bacterial and fungal infections would cross the mind of your doctor if you presented to him with warm, red skin, irritation, inflammation and some tenderness and pain. Deodorants, antiperspirants and body washes can cause an allergic reaction even after years of usage. Abscesses, contact dermatitis even Hyperhidrosis – excessive sweating – need to be ruled out and a diagnosis of cellulitis under your arm, isolated as the correct analysis.

Managing underarm infections is challenging. It is best to ditch the roll on unless you can source something chemical free absent harmful aluminium and gentle and, wear loose cotton clothing which allows your skin to breathe as you move.

Is that red, inflamed skin cellulitis in your arm or something else?

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection that can theoretically affect anywhere on your body as it is an infection of the skin. Cellulitis will favour certain points in your arm which are more likely to succumb to bacteria, so where the skin is thinner or hidden from view. Let these pictures act as your guides to help you learn how to identify cellulitis for future reference.



Article References:

  1. https://globalhandwashing.org/global-handwashing-day/about-ghd/
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/paronychia-a-to-z
  3. https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=3208
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/bacterial-joint-inflammation#diagnosis
  5. https://www.healthline.com/health/bacterial-joint-inflammation#diagnosis
  6. https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/picture-of-the-armpit#1