Pediatrics - Bite Injuries, Human Bites
Human bite injuries result from fist fighting or the intentional act of biting to inflict harm. Bite injuries occur during fist fighting if the fist of one person strikes the teeth of another person. Sometimes toddlers bite other people when they are frustrated or angry.
Hand injuries from human bites can result in lacerations and injuries to the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and muscles. Human bites are more dangerous than animal bites because they transmit higher concentrations of infectious bacteria. Human bites require prompt medical attention. Hand surgery may be necessary to properly clean wounds, and or to repair structural injuries.
The "knuckles" as they are commonly known, are the metacarpal phalangeal joints of the hand. Simply put, these are the joints where the hand attaches to the fingers. These joints are the ones most commonly affected when a tooth causes an injury after a punch in the mouth.
If there is risk of the bite entering a joint, your child will require surgery to completely wash out the joint. If infection has already set in, surgical drainage is mandatory, with the wound left open to drain. Intravenous antibiotics will be necessary.
Your child will most likely participate in rehabilitation following non-surgical or surgical treatment of his or her injury. A therapist will teach your child exercises to help gain range of motion, flexibility, coordination, and strength. Therapy may help to reduce swelling, pain, and stiffness. The extent of therapy that your child receives depends on the type of injury and treatment that your child had. The goal of therapy is to maximize the restoration of hand function.
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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on February 16, 2022. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.