Why is a Paper Cut So Painful?

by ladyrain

A paper cut always happens when you least expect it. This dreaded injury is only a tiny scrape on the finger but why is it so painful?

Someone hands you a business card and as your hand stretches out to receive it, one of your fingers brushes against the edge of the paper. You get a shock feeling in your body and your hand jerks back as you feel a stinging pain on your index finger ... OUCH! You look at your finger, anticipating to see blood gushing out from your finger but there is no blood in sight. You could hardly see where the wound is but your finger keeps hurting. You've got a paper cut!

But why is a paper cut so painful?

The skin on our hands and fingers are the most sensitive areas of our body. We use our fingers to feel and touch many things, that's why these areas are densely innervated. Because they have a greater concentration of nerves, we feel more pain when many injured nerves send pain signals to the brain.

Paper cuts are usually shallow and near the surface of the superficial layer of the skin that is densely packed with nerves. A superficial paper cut is usually too shallow to draw enough blood that contains the plasma that assists in clotting that seals the open wound. Hence, the paper cut wound remains open and the injured tissues are exposed. We also tend to rub on the wound unintentionally because it is almost unnoticeable, and these injured nerves will keep sending pain signals to the brain.

How to make a paper cut wound heal faster?

Give the affected area a wash with soap and clean water. Dry the wound and apply a little antiseptic ointment on it to prevent infection and kill any bacteria that may be present. Cover the wound with a bandage to protect and seal the wound and it will heal in a few days.

Cover the wound

a bandaged finger
a bandaged finger

Poll Time

How often do you get a paper cut?

How to prevent paper cuts on your fingers?

Wear finger protectors

If you handle papers and cardboard folders in the office and tend to get paper cuts very frequently, use finger gloves or finger cots to protect the finger tips.

Use a hand lotion or moisturiser

Dry skins are more prone to cuts and abrasions. Apply hand lotion or moisturiser regularly to both hands to soften and moisturise the skin, especially after washing your hands.

Updated: 06/11/2013, ladyrain
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ladyrain on 05/31/2013

That's true, and it hurts so much when I get lemon juice or salt on my fingers!

EliasZanetti on 05/31/2013

It is one of those seemingly insignificant incidents that happen quite frequently and while you don't pay that much attention it could be very annoying.

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