Most people will find that they pick up cuts and bruises from time to time. Maybe you cut yourself on a plant while gardening, maybe you catch your knee on the corner of the bed and get a nasty bruise. Most of us will cut our fingers while cooking from time to time.

Most of the time, this is par for the course. We have become used to these minor injuries, and will normally be fine going about our day once the initial shock has worn off.

How to Tell if I Need Stitches?

But just because cuts and bruises are commonplace, that doesn’t mean they can always be ignored! In fact, in some cases, cuts can be extremely serious. Not only do these present a risk of infection (especially depending on what caused the cut), but they can also lead to heavy blood loss.

In the latter scenario, you may need stitches. But how do you know when it’s time to visit the doctor?

Better Safe Than Sorry

The first piece of advice to take on board, is that it is better to be safe than sorry.

In other words, if you Googled whether or not you should get stitches, there is probably a good chance that you do need stitches – or should at least get a second opinion from an expert who can advise you on that subject.

For that reason, it is no harm to go and speak to a physician who can also address any other potential issues such as signs of infection. They can help deal with the pain, and if it’s nothing – then they will just send you home.

But with that said, here is some guidance that can help you to tell if you might need stitches yourself.

The Cut is Deep

If the cut is very deep, then your body will have a hard time to clot it and heal on its own. Your blood will increase viscosity when you injure yourself and direct more blood to the area. This is intended to clot and to help bind the area together – but there is only so much your body can do.

As such, if the cut is more than a quarter of an inch deep, then you should probably get stitches.

You Can See Bone or Fat

If you can see bone, fat, or other deep body structures (such as veins) then getting stitches is important. Not only does this suggest that the cut is very deep again, but it can also put you at risk of further complication and damage should anything get inside the wound.

This can be a very unpleasant sight, and it will be more than enough to prompt most of us to see a professional very quickly anyway!

Likewise, you probably don’t need me to tell you this: but if any part of you is hanging off (such as the tip of a finger) then you should act quickly and get stitches!

The Cut is Over a Joint

Whether or not you need stitches is not always a question of how deep or severe the cut is. In some cases, you might need a stitch because the cut is over a joint such as a knuckle. This is because the area will keep bending, which will constantly pull the two sides of the wound open. This prevents the body from being able to heal, without the assistance of stitches or medical glue.

The Cut is in a Visually Sensitive Area

If you have a cut on your face that has the potential to look unattractive, then you should get stitches. This will help to ensure that the cut heals with the most symmetry possible and that will in turn minimize the aesthetic impact of the injury.

The Cut Won’t Stop Bleeding

In general, if the cut doesn’t stop bleeding, then you should get stitches. Blood loss can be serious and if you can’t stem the tide, then stitches will help you to heal more quickly. Apply pressure for fifteen minutes and if you are still bleeding, consider speaking with a physician.

That said, apply some logic too: if this is a small shaving cut then you can make an exception!

Urgent Care Omaha Walk-In Clinics and in Bellevue, NE

Our staff works to provide prompt, personal, and professional care for all of our patients. We strive to provide the attention patients need in as quick a time as possible. Urgent Care Clinics in Omaha & Bellevue, Nebraska has three locations in the Omaha metropolitan area. Our three walk-in clinics are:

The information contained on this webpage is for educational purposes as well as to provide general information and general understanding of the pertinent medical issue only, not to provide a specific diagnosis. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. By using this blog/web site you understand there is no doctor patient relationship between you and the blog/web site publisher. The information included on this site should not be used as a substitute for medical advice from a licensed medical professional in your state. Neither Urgent Care Network, its subsidiaries, affiliates, assignees or successors in interest, nor any other party assume liability for loss or damage due to reliance on content of this blog/web site. If you are experiencing a severe medical issue, you should seek emergency assistance immediately.


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