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Children's Health

Bruising Palm of Hand by Squeezing Fingers

11/28/2005

Question:

My son has a significant bruise on the palm of his hand (specifically the fatty soft part of the palm directly next to the thumb area). When I asked why this occurred he didn`t know, but he was pretty sure he hadn`t banged his hand or fallen recently. My son was able to recall and tell me his hand was squeezed, excessively tightly, recently (the day before). The specific area squeezed as he showed me was around his 4 fingers and the knuckle area. Would excessive squeezing around the finger and knuckle area of the hand possibly cause the bruising that I see in the soft area near his thumb? I read on this site that bruising is usually due to blunt trauma or sharp impact, and bruising occurs at the site of the trauma or impact - not in a location near but not exactly the trauma or impact area. I would think the bruise (if there was one from the excessive squeezing would occur specifically at the squeeze point - such as around his 4 fingers and knuckle area).

Answer:

Bruising is caused by blood leaking out of the arteries and veins into the soft tissue.  While this is usually directly where the impact or injury takes place, blood if it can travel is subject to gravity and will move.  The most commonly known example is someone who gets hit in the nose and gets two black eyes.  Because there are tissue planes and pockets in both the face and hands make bruising possible at a distance away from the injury.  If the squeezing caused damage to blood vessels in the fingers and thumb, then the blood could travel to the palm of the hand and cause a bruise. 

I would suggest that you have your son evaluated by his primary care provider, to make sure that there was not other damage or underlying medical condition and to reassure you as to the cause of the bruise.

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Response by:

Michael Spigarelli, MD, PhD
Formerly, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati